ALTE's Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an important part of the life of the association as they pursue important issues connected with language testing. ALTE has two types of SIGs, Project Groups and Discussion Groups. These meet face-to-face as part of biannual meetings, but also online as needed. They can be chaired by any individual from a Member organisation or an Individual Expert Member. Co-chairs can come from Institutional Affiliate organisations.
Project Groups have coordinators with a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Project Groups have a set purpose, which might be to create and publish a specific piece of documentation or set of materials, create a video, webpage, webinar or academic paper, or any other project that has a specific goal; an appropriate time limit, e.g.. to run for 2-3 years in order to complete a particular piece of work with no necessity to extend beyond this; and an appropriate cost limit, e.g. to accomplish the purpose using an appropriate amount of funds approved by ALTE’s Board of Trustees. This results in a very concrete, focused group, with a clear aim and under no obligation to continue indefinitely.
Before a project group starts, there should be a core number of individuals signed up to be committed. Project Groups should specify to what extent they would like conference participants attending their meetings: ideally, anybody at meetings should be welcomed but we recognise that there are certain groups that may need to be ‘closed’ because e.g. a high turnover of participants is not helpful to achieve their aims. Project Groups should have a coordinator/chair and ideally also a co-chair. They are responsible for creating a project plan as well as coordinating the work of the group.
|Current Project Groups||Current Focus||SIG Co-ordinator(s)|
|CEFR||Developing a series of practical guides for test developers to incorporate the CEFR into their assessment methodology.||Carmen Peresich and Annabelle Pinnington|
|LAMI (Language Assessment for Migration and Integration)||Assessment of uneven profiles, particularly in relation to non-literate and low literate migrants.||Lorenzo Rocca and Cecilie Hamnes Carlsen|
|LSP (Language for Specific Purposes)||Dina Vilcu|
|QMS (Quality Management System) Working Group||Cathy Taylor|
|SIG on Technology||Dominique Casanova and Vincent Folny|
Discussion Groups, or Input Groups, are one-off meetings, where an individual (or two) within the association puts forward a topic for discussion. It is a forum for all members and affiliates to learn, be trained, share and collaborate.
A discussion group is likely to take place on one occasion only, probably at the same time as a SIG (i.e. the Thursday of a biannual conference/meeting), or alternatively online or at another specified time and location. The individual acts as the group coordinator and manages the input and discussion. Specific output may result in a follow-up discussion group or even project group, but does not have to. These sessions are an opportunity to engage in practical issues affecting members and share research and good practice in one area.