saskiast


Saskia Van Viegen

Photo of Saskia Van Viegen

Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Associate Professor

Office: Ross Building, S562
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext: 20768
Email: saskiast@yorku.ca

Media Requests Welcome


My work in applied linguistics focuses on bi/multilingualism in education. Specific areas of interest include language assessment, literacy development, and language and content integrated teaching and learning. Drawing on research developed across multiple scales of inquiry in schools, school districts and education systems, I am interested in efforts to revision language education from a multilingual perspective.

Current projects include a SSHRC Insight Grant funded project (2017-2021) examining language and literacy practices of youth from refugee backgrounds, a SSHRC Insight Development Grant funded project (2019-2022) developing multilingual approaches to assessment in education, and a SSHRC Insight Grant funded study (2021-2024) investigating language teaching and learning in multilingual university contexts.

I have also conducted several empirical projects in collaboration with Ontario and British Columbia Ministries of Education to lead educator professional learning and build capacity for system­-level education reform for supporting language teaching and learning, particularly to support children and youth from refugee and immigrant backgrounds.

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Publications from my work appear in several edited books and journals, including: European Journal of Teacher Education, TESOL Quarterly, Language Assessment Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Education, and Canadian Modern Language Review. I am co-editor of the book Plurilingual Pedagogies: Critical and Creative Undertakings for Equitable Language (in) Education (Springer, 2020) and am currently serving as co-editor of the international journal Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Degrees

PhD., OISE/University of Toronto
M.A., Western University
B.A. Hons., Western University

Research Interests

Education , Post-Secondary Education and Research, Language Assessment, Literacy, Bi/multilingualism, TESOL

Current Research Projects

MUSE Project - Multilingual University Student Experience Project

    Summary:

    Academic socialization of bi/multilingual students: A multi-site case study at three Canadian
    universities.

    Description:

    The Multilingual University Student Experience (MUSE) Project (2021-2024) is a multi-site research study designed to better understand multilingual students’ experience and social adaptation in three Canadian universities: Concordia University (QC), the University of British Columbia (BC), and York University (ON). Particularly, we will examine and compare the approaches of three English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs to supporting first-year multilingual students. We will also look into how these programs address systemic challenges and the impact of COVID-19 on multilingual students’ academic achievement and journey to graduation. Findings from the study will be used to improve the international student experience at Canadian universities.

    See more
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator

    Collaborator: Heike Neuman, Sandra Zappa-Hollman
    Collaborator Institution: Concordia University, University of British Columbia
    Funders:
    SSHRC
Examining the Extrapolation Inference of the Duolingo Test of English at Two Canadian Universities.

    Summary:

    Examining (1) the predictive validity of DET as evidenced in the relationship between students’ DET scores and their GPAs at the end of the first year of study and (2) test takers’ and score users’ perceptions of the DET and its test tasks.

    Description:

    The closure of testing centers administering English language proficiency (ELP) tests in early 2020 because of the COVID19 pandemic required many Canadian universities to consider using scores on remote ELP tests like the at-home Duolingo English Test (DET) as evidence of ELP for university admissions. While the DET is currently used by many English-medium universities and colleges, at the time this study was conducted, it was a relatively new alternative and, as a result, further evidence was needed to determine whether the extrapolation inference for its use for university admissions is warranted. To address this need, this concurrent, exploratory mixed-methods study examined the association between the DET scores and academic achievement of 719 students admitted on DET scores as well as stakeholders’ perceptions of the content and use of the DET for university admissions at two Canadian universities.

    See more
    Role: Co-investigator

    Collaborator: Khaled Barkaoui, Heike Neumann
    Collaborator Institution: York University, Concordia University
    Funders:
    Duolingo English Test Research Grants
Exploring multilingual assessment in the educational context

    Summary:

    This project investigates approaches to multilingual assessment in the secondary educational context in order to address varied teaching and learning needs of bi/multilingual students from immigrant and refugee backgrounds enrolled in Ontario schools. Reflecting the complex, dynamic language practices of bi/multilingual speakers and communities, this approach recognizes the rich linguistic resources of bi/multilingual students, providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate their academic knowledge and literacy skills using the full range of their linguistic repertoire. SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Funders:
    SSHRC Insight Development Grant
Language and Literacy Learning Among Youth Refugees in Canadian Secondary School Classrooms.

    Summary:

    The study addresses three urgent needs: (a) to help education systems and community groups understand how to support youth refugees to catch up to their same-age peers in school as quickly as possible; (b) to support youth refugees, for whom limited prior schooling, limited first language literacy and challenges of academic language learning (compounded by socio-emotional challenges) often present a barrier to learning, social adjustment and academic success; and (c) to develop innovative policies and pedagogical practices that engage with the digital, multimodal literacy practices of today's youth. SSHRC Insight Grant. Joint project with: Maureen Kendrick, UBC (PI); Margaret Early, UBC; Shelley Taylor, Western University.

    See more
    Role: Co-investigtor

    Funders:
    SSHRC Insight Grant
Translingual reading in the post-secondary context.

    Summary:

    Working from a multilingual paradigm, wherein students’ linguistic resources are seen as part of a singular, dynamic and integrated linguistic system, this study examines the reading processes and strategy use of bi/multilingual adolescent readers (ages 17-21 years) at the post-secondary level. Knowledge in this arena is critically important both to support the disciplinary teaching and learning needs of these youth, and to generate theories and models of reading that reflect current understandings of bi/multilingualism as translanguaging/translingual practice. York University LAPS Minor Research Grant.

    See more
    Role: Principal investigator

    Funders:
    York University LAPS Minor Research Grant.
Implementing English language proficiency (ELP) assessment standards in British Columbia Education.

    Summary:

    The BC Ministry of Education has recently developed English Language Learning (ELL) Standards for use in BC Education. This project examines the effectiveness of these standards, identifies language assessment practices among ELL teachers, and promotes effective use of the ELL Standards. Joint project with: Margaret Early, UBC; Valia Spiliotopoulos, UBC.

    See more
    Funders:
    UBC Dept. of Language and Literacy Education Ritsumeikan Seed Grant


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2025 AP/ESL3020 3.0 M World Englishes ONLN
Fall/Winter 2024 AP/TESL3300 6.0 A Practicum in TESOL BLEN
Fall 2024 GS/LAL5670 3.0 A Second Language Instruction SEMR


My work in applied linguistics focuses on bi/multilingualism in education. Specific areas of interest include language assessment, literacy development, and language and content integrated teaching and learning. Drawing on research developed across multiple scales of inquiry in schools, school districts and education systems, I am interested in efforts to revision language education from a multilingual perspective.

Current projects include a SSHRC Insight Grant funded project (2017-2021) examining language and literacy practices of youth from refugee backgrounds, a SSHRC Insight Development Grant funded project (2019-2022) developing multilingual approaches to assessment in education, and a SSHRC Insight Grant funded study (2021-2024) investigating language teaching and learning in multilingual university contexts.

I have also conducted several empirical projects in collaboration with Ontario and British Columbia Ministries of Education to lead educator professional learning and build capacity for system­-level education reform for supporting language teaching and learning, particularly to support children and youth from refugee and immigrant backgrounds.

Publications from my work appear in several edited books and journals, including: European Journal of Teacher Education, TESOL Quarterly, Language Assessment Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Education, and Canadian Modern Language Review. I am co-editor of the book Plurilingual Pedagogies: Critical and Creative Undertakings for Equitable Language (in) Education (Springer, 2020) and am currently serving as co-editor of the international journal Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Degrees

PhD., OISE/University of Toronto
M.A., Western University
B.A. Hons., Western University

Research Interests

Education , Post-Secondary Education and Research, Language Assessment, Literacy, Bi/multilingualism, TESOL

Current Research Projects

MUSE Project - Multilingual University Student Experience Project

    Summary:

    Academic socialization of bi/multilingual students: A multi-site case study at three Canadian
    universities.

    Description:

    The Multilingual University Student Experience (MUSE) Project (2021-2024) is a multi-site research study designed to better understand multilingual students’ experience and social adaptation in three Canadian universities: Concordia University (QC), the University of British Columbia (BC), and York University (ON). Particularly, we will examine and compare the approaches of three English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs to supporting first-year multilingual students. We will also look into how these programs address systemic challenges and the impact of COVID-19 on multilingual students’ academic achievement and journey to graduation. Findings from the study will be used to improve the international student experience at Canadian universities.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator

    Collaborator: Heike Neuman, Sandra Zappa-Hollman
    Collaborator Institution: Concordia University, University of British Columbia
    Funders:
    SSHRC
Examining the Extrapolation Inference of the Duolingo Test of English at Two Canadian Universities.

    Summary:

    Examining (1) the predictive validity of DET as evidenced in the relationship between students’ DET scores and their GPAs at the end of the first year of study and (2) test takers’ and score users’ perceptions of the DET and its test tasks.

    Description:

    The closure of testing centers administering English language proficiency (ELP) tests in early 2020 because of the COVID19 pandemic required many Canadian universities to consider using scores on remote ELP tests like the at-home Duolingo English Test (DET) as evidence of ELP for university admissions. While the DET is currently used by many English-medium universities and colleges, at the time this study was conducted, it was a relatively new alternative and, as a result, further evidence was needed to determine whether the extrapolation inference for its use for university admissions is warranted. To address this need, this concurrent, exploratory mixed-methods study examined the association between the DET scores and academic achievement of 719 students admitted on DET scores as well as stakeholders’ perceptions of the content and use of the DET for university admissions at two Canadian universities.

    Role: Co-investigator

    Collaborator: Khaled Barkaoui, Heike Neumann
    Collaborator Institution: York University, Concordia University
    Funders:
    Duolingo English Test Research Grants
Exploring multilingual assessment in the educational context

    Summary:

    This project investigates approaches to multilingual assessment in the secondary educational context in order to address varied teaching and learning needs of bi/multilingual students from immigrant and refugee backgrounds enrolled in Ontario schools. Reflecting the complex, dynamic language practices of bi/multilingual speakers and communities, this approach recognizes the rich linguistic resources of bi/multilingual students, providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate their academic knowledge and literacy skills using the full range of their linguistic repertoire. SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Funders:
    SSHRC Insight Development Grant
Language and Literacy Learning Among Youth Refugees in Canadian Secondary School Classrooms.

    Summary:

    The study addresses three urgent needs: (a) to help education systems and community groups understand how to support youth refugees to catch up to their same-age peers in school as quickly as possible; (b) to support youth refugees, for whom limited prior schooling, limited first language literacy and challenges of academic language learning (compounded by socio-emotional challenges) often present a barrier to learning, social adjustment and academic success; and (c) to develop innovative policies and pedagogical practices that engage with the digital, multimodal literacy practices of today's youth. SSHRC Insight Grant. Joint project with: Maureen Kendrick, UBC (PI); Margaret Early, UBC; Shelley Taylor, Western University.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Co-investigtor

    Funders:
    SSHRC Insight Grant
Translingual reading in the post-secondary context.

    Summary:

    Working from a multilingual paradigm, wherein students’ linguistic resources are seen as part of a singular, dynamic and integrated linguistic system, this study examines the reading processes and strategy use of bi/multilingual adolescent readers (ages 17-21 years) at the post-secondary level. Knowledge in this arena is critically important both to support the disciplinary teaching and learning needs of these youth, and to generate theories and models of reading that reflect current understandings of bi/multilingualism as translanguaging/translingual practice. York University LAPS Minor Research Grant.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal investigator

    Funders:
    York University LAPS Minor Research Grant.
Implementing English language proficiency (ELP) assessment standards in British Columbia Education.

    Summary:

    The BC Ministry of Education has recently developed English Language Learning (ELL) Standards for use in BC Education. This project examines the effectiveness of these standards, identifies language assessment practices among ELL teachers, and promotes effective use of the ELL Standards. Joint project with: Margaret Early, UBC; Valia Spiliotopoulos, UBC.

    Project Type: Funded
    Funders:
    UBC Dept. of Language and Literacy Education Ritsumeikan Seed Grant



Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2025 AP/ESL3020 3.0 M World Englishes ONLN
Fall/Winter 2024 AP/TESL3300 6.0 A Practicum in TESOL BLEN
Fall 2024 GS/LAL5670 3.0 A Second Language Instruction SEMR