As the lingua franca of the modern world, English plays an important role in international trade, economics, diplomacy and cultural exchanges. In Asia as in most other non-English speaking countries, English is the first foreign language, and English proficiency is a goal of the education system. To assess the outcome of English education, numerous countries have undertaken research into English language testing. Some countries have established exam bodies, and some include English on their college entrance exams.
In 1998, at the suggestion of Professor Yang Huizhong, former director of China’s National College English Testing Committee (CET), the Academic Forum on English Language Testing in Asia (AFELTA) was established. The forum was established to serve as a platform for Asian testing bodies to exchange English testing approaches. There are currently eight AFELTA members: the National College English Testing Committee (CET), Taiwan’s College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC), the Eiken Foundation of Japan (EIKEN), the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Association (HKEAA), the Korea English Language Testing Association (KELTA), Taiwan’s Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC), the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) as well as the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), which became a member at the 15th forum through the recommendation of the KELTA. The members take turns organizing and hosting the forum, which takes place every year between September and November. At the forum, representatives present their papers, and local professionals and scholars of English testing are invited to share experiences and research findings.
The AFELTA Conference has been held 17 times. The dates and the organizers are as follows: