Call for Papers

Journal: Language Testing 

Call Deadline: 18 October 2019

Guest Editors: Veronika Timpe-Laughlin & Yeonsuk Cho

Topic: Assessing young foreign language learners in global and local contexts


Call for papers for the 2021 special issue of Language Testing on the topic of “Assessing young foreign language learners in global and local contexts”

In 2000, Language Testing featured a special issue on assessing young learners of additional languages. This special issue, a seminal early contribution in the area of young learner assessment, featured nine papers that focused on young language learners predominantly in the context of primary education in Europe. In her editorial remarks, Rea-Dickins (2000, p. 120) concluded that the field was still in its infancy, noting that she hoped that 

“the discussions and the analyses offered by the contributors stimulate further work across the range of challenges they raise and that, in some way, this special issue in the first year of the new millennium might assist in the shaping of a still somewhat embryonic research and development agenda for the assessment of the younger language learner.” 

Now, two decades later, the field of assessing young learners of additional languages has indeed grown considerably, expanding in scope not only geographically but also with regard to learner populations, research topics, and assessment paradigms—an increased scope that we plan to highlight in the special issue.

In this special issue, we aim to demonstrate how the scope of research in the area of assessing young foreign language learners has changed over the past 20 years. In particular, we aim to include papers that engage with the interdisciplinary heart of the topic, which is about the development of language acquisition in children, how this differs from adults, and how these differences and children’s differing levels of cognitive development (and understanding of testing) impact best practices in language testing. 

We invite both empirical and conceptual papers on topics including (but not limited to):

  • Construct definitions of young FL learner assessments (e.g., domain analysis of communication skills for young FL learners)
  • Relationships between L1 literacy and FL development in young FL learners 
  • Relationships between cognitive abilities, affective factors, and language outcomes in young FL learners (e.g., FL learner developments and progressions; young FL learner profiles)
  • Interaction between assessment tasks and young FL learners’ test-taker strategies (e.g., impact of delivery mode; cognitive processes required of assessment tasks)
  • Testing practices and washback effects in local or regional contexts
  • Issues and challenges of assessing young FL learners in multilingual contexts 
  • Use of technology in learning or assessment of young FL learners (e.g., game-based assessments; innovative item types that can be scored automatically)

If you are interested in contributing a paper, please submit a tentative title and a brief description of your paper (250 word max.) by Friday, October, 18, 2019 to 

Important dates                                                                                                                                

  • October 18, 2019 – Close the call for papers 
  • November 1, 2019 – Announce selected papers to authors
  • February 1, 2020 – Submission of full manuscripts
  • May 1, 2020 – Round #1 of feedback to authors 
  • July 1, 2020 – Submission of revised manuscripts
  • August 20, 2020 – Round #2 of feedback to authors 
  • October 20, 2020 – Submission of revised manuscripts to LT editors for final decision for each paper:
    • Reject
    • Reject but with the possibility of having the paper appear in (or being further reviewed for) a non-special issue
    • Minor revisions 
    • Accept
  • December 1, 2020 – Submission of final manuscripts 
  • April 2021 – Publication of Special Issue

Please contact the Special Issue editor Veronika Timpe-Laughlin ( with any questions.