Call for Papers

Midwest Association of Language Testers 

September 8-9, 2023 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Champaign, Illinois 

Conference Theme 

Language assessment in multilingual and multicultural contexts 

Despite the fact that most of the world’s population is bi- or multilingual, the vast majority of language testing research is conducted on just one language – English – and specifically in higher education contexts on large-scale tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In fact, less than 15% of research published in the three main language testing journals is on languages other than English. With the theme of the 2023 MwALT conference, “Language assessment in multilingual and multicultural contexts,” we aim to showcase research being done in a variety of contexts and in languages that are underrepresented. We encourage proposals that relate to the conference theme and address research being done in any multilingual and/or multicultural context, in university settings as well as in K-12 and professional settings. By examining assessment contexts that are understudied, not only can language testers better serve the needs of our globalized society but also novel assessment challenges and issues can be tackled that would not otherwise come about. 

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an ideal venue for discussion of language assessment in multilingual and multicultural contexts, as the university is host to one of the largest international student populations in the US, with over 11,000 students from more than 120 nations. Language assessment research conducted on campus is necessarily tailored to this diverse population, with innovative projects related to not only international students but also to multilingual, multicultural learners from the US, including heritage speakers of Chinese and Spanish.   

Submission Requirements 

When submitting your abstract (which should be 300 words or less) you will be asked whether you would like your proposal to be considered as a paper, a technology demonstration, research in progress, or a poster (descriptions below). 


Papers should present theoretical or empirical research. They are 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions. Proposals for empirical studies should provide background and reasons for the research, descriptions of methodology, findings, and implications. Proposals for conceptual papers should introduce the problem addressed in the paper, provide the theoretical orientation or new approach, and indicate the logic of the argument the paper will present.  

Technology Demonstrations 

Demonstrations allow presenters to showcase software used for any aspect of language assessment development, delivery, or research. They are 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions. Proposals should provide a purpose for the technology, how it can benefit the language testing process, principles of its development, and implications/challenges of its use. Actual demonstrations of the technology and its uses within the 20-minute time limit are preferred, but sessions with screenshots or other ways of showing the technology will be considered. 

Research in Progress 

Research in progress presentations give presenters an opportunity to discuss and get feedback on research or test development projects which are incomplete. Presenters will be given time to share their work and get feedback from small groups of participants. 


Posters give presenters an opportunity to discuss assessment research or test development projects with a small group of participants. Presenters should be available to display and discuss their posters during a 60-minute session.  

Evaluation of Proposals 

All proposals will receive a double-blind review by at least two reviewers. Criteria will include the proposal’s clarity, adequacy of the methods for data collection and analysis (if appropriate), the extent to which the abstract meets the criteria for the given submission category, and the overall significance of the work for language assessment. Preference will be given to abstracts that address the conference theme, although all language assessment topics are admissible. 

Important Dates 

Proposal submission website open: March 10, 2023 

Abstracts due: May 31, 2023 

Pre-conference workshops: September 8, 2023 

Conference: September 9, 2023 

Conference Organizing Committee 

Xun Yan 

Melissa Bowles 

Rurik Tywoniw 

Ha Ram Kim