THE CHALLENGE OF CREATING THE OPENLANG NETWORK ONLINE OPEN DATABASE OF 24 EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PLACEMENTS TESTS
1 University of Macedonia (GREECE)
2 Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The promotion of language learning and linguistic diversity is one of the specific objectives of the Erasmus+ Programme which is supported by KA1 mobility projects. Though according to the Eurostat’s results on Foreign Language Skills , language and cultural barriers are two aspects which restrict the level of geographic mobility within the EU. New initiatives should be launched in order to overcome these barriers such as the Open Languages and Cultures’ Network project (https://www.openlangnet.eu/). This is a European project co-funded under the scheme of Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Strategic partnerships which envisages connecting all the Erasmus+ KA1 Mobility Participants (HE students and staff, VET (at least 1-month mobility), Adult and School education staff, Youth learners, Youth Workers, Youth Entrepreneurs) in an open informal and highly interactive online environment which could support more efficiently their effort to raise language awareness of the target mobility EU languages and to develop European intercultural knowledge.
The open online and collaborative language learning environment offered by the OPENLang Network project aims to offer at the first stage to all mobility participants the possibility to assess their language skills and check their language proficiency level by giving them the opportunity to take a Language Placement Test (LPT) of the languages that they prefer among the 24 official European languages. In this way, all mobility participants will be self-aware of their language status and will be better prepared for their mobility experience. But how easy is it to find online LPTs for all 24 European Languages, which are openly accessible to language teachers and language users?
This paper aims to describe the phases of the research that is conducted in order to identify the 24 LPTs of high quality, one for each European language as well as the preliminary research results. Through systematic search in the national institutions' official pages and direct contact with the national representatives of all 24 languages, we aimed at triangulating our findings, explain different aspects of the phenomenon of interest, and also, increase the credibility and validity of research findings . In the first phase, a desk-research was carried out in order to explore, find, and evaluate various LPTs that are offered for each one of the 24 languages. The evaluation of more than 150 LPTs was based on research-driven selected criteria. In the second phase, the OPENLang Network team continued with contacting the language creators of the LPTs, as well as the official EU representatives of the Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNL). In parallel, the research team has launched a short survey addressed to language teachers asking for feedback on the LPTs that they have used and their evaluation criteria for choosing them. The first results of the research have shown that it is not an easy task to find openly accessible online tests for all 24 EU languages. It is also very challenging to define and apply specific evaluation criteria that could be used for the selection of quality LPTs.
 European Commission, Eurostat (2019). Foreign language skills statistics-Statistics Explained https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/44913.pdf
 Cohen, L, Manion, L, Morrison, K. (2020). Research methods in education. Brit J Educ Stud 2000;48:446.
Keywords: Open Education, Language Skills, CALL, Language Assessment, Language Certification, Language Qualification, Language OERs, Mobility, Lifelong Learning.