Testing Experts Examine the Digital Age in the Annual NATO BILC STANAG 6001 Testing Workshop
The NATO Bureau for International Language Coordination (BILC) held its annual STANAG 6001 Testing Workshop from 7-9 September in Bonn, Germany, with the theme Increasing Standardization and Efficiency of STANAG 6001 Testing in the Digital Age. The Bundessprachenamt hosted the workshop and helped organize the event for the 49 participants, all testing experts, representing 25 nations, two NATO organizations, and two U.S. universities. In addition, the event was supported by a customized Moodle platform for easy online access to the digital materials and activities.
"BILC as NATO’s advisory body for language training and testing issues, endeavors to live up to the ideals stated in its mission and vision in concrete and practical ways. One of its most visible and productive efforts is definitely the NATO BILC STANAG 6001 Testing Workshop which gives language testing experts from NATO and partner nations the opportunity to scrutinize the problems of foreign language testing from different aspects,” said Irena Prpić Đurić, Head of the Foreign Languages Center of the Croatian Defense Academy and current BILC Chair. “This year’s theme highlights BILC’s ongoing quest for a common understanding of the STANAG 6001 requirements as well as utilizing the best of the existing technology.”
The three-day workshop was highly interactive with an excellent variety of presentations, mini-workshops, panel discussions and digital posters, all conducted by the participants themselves. Due to the unique specialized focus of the workshop, participants had to be graduates of the Partner Language Training Center Europe’s (PLTCE) Language Testing Seminar (LTS) and current members of their national STANAG 6001 testing organizations. In addition, three experts from academia were invited to inform the participants on current trends in proficiency testing outside of the NATO and military contexts.
“The level of professionalization is outstanding when we think of how many nations are involved working toward the same objective,” said Mary Jo DiBiase Lubrano, Associate Director & Testing and Assessment Specialist, Yale University, Center for Language Study. “Academia would benefit from the acquired knowledge and level of expertise from this BILC community.”
The NATO BILC Testing Workshops have been held since 2000 and serve as an opportunity for professional development for STANAG 6001 language testers, increased standardization of testing practices across the BILC-member nations, and a forum for sharing current practices, successes and lessons learned.