The solutions proposed by applied linguists are defensible in two ways:
First, the designs must be justified with reference to theory – not only linguistic theory, but also those found in other disciplines, like psychology and pedagogy, and across disciplines.
Second, applied linguists are accountable to the public for the designs they produce. This is because their plans affect ever-increasing numbers of human beings. A bad and inappropriate language test may prevent one from earning a decent living or gaining legitimate access to a country or resources. An inadequate language course may stultify personal and professional growth. An ineffective and inappropriate language policy or arrangement can inhibit optimal performance within an institution or the workplace.
The pages on this site will deal in more detail with how we ensure this dual defensibility of applied linguistic designs. Its theme is a philosophical or foundational one: how we design language tests and language courses responsibly.
Rambiritch, Avasha. 2015. Accountability issues in testing academic literacy: the case of the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). Perspectives in Education 33(1): 26-44.
Weideman, Albert. 2015. Responsibly designed language interventions: language in practice. Word and Action 54(426): 52-57.
Rambiritch, Avasha. 2012. Transparency, accessibility and accountability as regulative conditions for a postgraduate test of academic literacy. PhD thesis, University of the Free State. URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11660/1571.
Weideman, Albert. 2011. A responsible agenda for applied linguistics: confessions of a philosopher. Per Linguam 23(2). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5785/23-2-54.
Davies, Alan. 2008. Accountability and Standards. In The Handbook of Educational Linguistics (eds B. Spolsky and F. M. Hult). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. DOI: 10.1002/9780470694138.ch34.
Weideman, Albert. 2006. Transparency and accountability in applied linguistics. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 24(1): 71-86. DOI: 10.2989/16073610609486407.
Weideman, Albert. 2003. Towards accountability: a point of orientation for post-modern applied linguistics in the third millennium. Literator 24(1) April 2003:83-102.