Language testing/assessment and linguistic human rights

Elana Shohamy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter introduces major concepts in the theory, research, and practices of language testing and assessment as they relate to Language Human Rights (LHR). It describes the emergence of theories of the power of tests and their consequences, given their features as disciplinary tools that have detrimental impact on individuals and societies. In Critical Language Testing major questions arise about the uses and ethicality of language tests in high-stake contexts, including language tests for adult immigrants as conditions for citizenship, asylum seekers, and refugees for being granted residence, and tests for schoolchildren in a language they are in the process of acquiring. The chapter concludes with proposals for 'talking back' to LHR by documenting misuses of language tests, following codes of ethics and practice, using bi-/multilingual tests which enable reliance on the full language repertoire of test-takers, and experimenting with assessment procedures for preventing violations of LHR.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Linguistic Human Rights
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781119753902
ISBN (Print)9781119753841
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2022


  • Asylum seekers
  • Bi/multilingual tests
  • Code of Ethics
  • Critical Language Testing
  • Disciplinary tool
  • Ethics of testing
  • Immigrant students
  • Linguistic Human Rights
  • Power of tests
  • Test use/misuse


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