The Testing and Evaluation (TEVAL) SIG was founded in 1996, and our ongoing mission is to be a community of language educators dedicated to sharing ideas, resources, and opportunities related to our field in Japan. At TEVAL, we share an interest in related topics and issues that every language teacher is engaged in at some point in their careers. Testing and evaluation can evoke images of large-scale multiple-choice tests and the quantitative analysis that contributes to their design and interpretation. However, we are interested in all types of evaluation that pertain to language teaching, from those large-scale, high-stake tests, to small-scale classroom quizzes, and to those questions about how we might evaluate and assess learners’ language skills in a fair and practical way.
One of our enduring SIG activities is publishing our biannual online journal called Shiken (https://hosted.jalt.org/teval/node/9). Shiken has been published since 1997 and continues to represent a quality publication for those researching and publishing in our field in Japan. David Allen of Ochanomizu University is the current Shiken editor and TEVAL Publication Chair, a position he has held since 2019. Allen (2020) has written an excellent overview of Shiken’s history and his hopes for its future, noting some unique aspects of the publication including the many published interviews with widely known, international scholars of language testing and education. Further, J. D. Brown’s Statistics Corner Column appeared in every issue of Shiken from its inception until 2019. Recently, TEVAL published a compilation of Brown’s columns as a book (Statistics Corner: Questions and Answers About Language Testing Statistics) which is presented to each new member when they join the SIG.
Aside from these, each issue of Shiken includes full-length peer-reviewed research articles that are also indexed in Google Scholar, making them easier to find. Since 2020, articles also have had individual DOIs. We encourage both early-stage and established scholars to consider publishing their work with Shiken. Details for submitting articles appear at the end of each issue, and all are downloadable from our newsletter’s website (https://hosted.jalt.org/teval/node/9).
Prior to the pandemic, TEVAL was well-engaged with the national and international testing and evaluation communities, sponsoring talks by scholars, maintaining liaison with other like-minded organizations, and sponsoring forums and regional conferences in Japan. After the pandemic hit, it became more challenging to organize events, leading our officers to seek new ways to support members and continue building our community.
One such way has been sponsoring or participating in PanSIG TEVAL Forums. In 2021, for example, David Allen organized and participated in a forum, The Use of Four-skills English Exams for University Entrance Admission in Japan, along with Tatsuro Tahara and Kingo Shiratori. And, for the JALT 2022 conference, Officer at-large (and former Publication Chair) Trevor Holster presented a forum titled “An Introduction to Test Item Analysis Using jMetrik.”
Collaboration with other SIGs and chapters has also been very important to us, so we were quite happy to co-sponsor an online presentation by Jerry Talandis Jr., with JALT Gunma, in August. The presentation was well-received with an attendance of around 50 people. Based on this, we welcome future opportunities to collaborate and cooperate with other JALT SIGs and chapters.
Two new initiatives taken by TEVAL during the course of the pandemic have been the creation of new grants and a monthly, online get-together. The grants include research and conference grants, both of which have deadlines of March 1, 2023. Further details can be found on the TEVAL website (https://hosted.jalt.org/teval/node/108). Further, monthly get-togethers, known as TEVAL Talk Time, usually occur on weekday evenings and are an opportunity for members to meet on Zoom to discuss their current projects, ideas, or interests in an informal setting.
As TEVAL continues into the future, we maintain our core interests in giving value back to our members and being the default community for the discussion of testing and evaluation issues in English for language teachers in Japan. We always welcome communication from members and non-members alike, so feel free to send us an email (email@example.com) or to join us online so that we can share our interests in testing and evaluation together.
Allen, D. (2020). Shiken: Past and future. Shiken, 24(1). 22-36. https://doi.org/10.37546/JALTSIG.TEVAL24.1-2