High impact MA research in the School of Education

Posted by pt91 at Aug 04, 2011 04:34 PM |
A postgraduate student in the School of Education has been awarded a grant for an ambitious study into language testing.

Nathaniel Owen, an MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL student, has won a Pearson Assessment research grant to carry out a study on the usefulness of Pearson’s new test for assessing the linguistic readiness for academic study of international students currently on University pre-sessional English programmes.

The research will also provide ELTU (English Language Teaching Unit) with data to inform assessment practices.

Nathaniel’s dissertation is entitled ‘Suitability of the Pearson test of English (PTE) Academic as an exit test for a pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course: A comparative analysis'.

He will conduct the research under the supervision of Dr Glenn Fulcher, and in conjunction with ELTU.

Nathaniel commented: “It is a real honour to have received a grant from Pearson at this early stage of my academic career. Hopefully the research can make a valuable contribution to university admission and assessment procedures.”

The School of Education has a reputation for high quality research and publications in the field of educational assessment and language testing, and from 2012 it will be possible to do an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL with Language Testing.

Dr Glenn Fulcher said:  “Language testing is currently a hot topic, especially as language tests are now being used as tools within immigration policy in this country and around the world, making language testing not just a technical discipline, but one that is critical in many areas of social and educational policy.

“New tier 4 (student visa) rules are quite stringent and the tests selected for enforcement come from the three major international testing companies. There is much room for research into the usefulness of these tests for admissions decision making, and investigating whether and to what extent these they provide comparable information.

“Nathaniel’s grant will allow him to undertake a very ambitious study that begins to explore some of these questions with regard to the PTE, and lay the foundations for a larger study in the future.

“Nathaniel has also been successful in his application for a Graduate Research Assistantship, and he will start a PhD in October. This success reflects the high quality research and teaching in the School of Education, which provides our students with the support they need to become excellent researchers.

“As part of our MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL it is now possible to take up to 90 credits in language testing, which also includes topics in educational measurement and psychometrics. From 2012 students who take these 90 credits can have their MA certificate endorsed “…with language testing”. We hope that this opportunity will encourage more excellent students who are interested in this rapidly expanding field to choose Leicester.”

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