2012 Program

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Research priority Participants & projects Publications



Research priority 

The research theme for the 2012 program was assessment, and teachers were invited to explore any aspect of their classroom or institutional practice related to monitoring and assessing learner progress and achievement.


Why assessment?
Assessment is regularly identified by academic staff at English Australia member colleges as one of the key areas of concern and English Australia is keen for teachers to further develop their 'assessment literacy', to increase their understanding of the key features of assessment and of the complexities and skills involved in monitoring and assessing learner progress and achievement. 

Aspects of assessment identified as being suitable for action research were:

Developing diagnostic assessment
• placement processes, tasks, decision-making
• strategic techniques and personnel involved in diagnostic assessment
• task development for diagnostic assessment
• learner responses to experiences of diagnostic assessment

Monitoring learner progress
• teaching to proficiency or achievement
• classroom/teacher-based assessment
• designing assessment tasks
• formative assessment related to progress
• formative assessment related to course content/specific skills (macroskills, grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary development)
• learner beliefs about making progress
• learner responses to tasks used for diagnostic assessment
• teachers’ decision-making about formative assessment

Managing formal assessment
• preparation for external assessment (e.g. Cambridge English examinations, IELTS, TOEFL etc)
• use of outcomes/competency-based assessment
• development and implementation of rubrics for assessment of skills
• experiences of online assessment
• use of alternative assessment (portfolios, learning logs / blogs, learner journals etc)

Developing learner autonomy through assessment
• self-assessment and learner autonomy
• peer-assessment for learning
• integrated assessment and learner independence
• learner awareness-raising about assessment and progress
• learner criteria for assessment


Participants & projects

The following teachers were selected by the program Reference Group to participate in the 2012 program:

Diana Cossar-Burgess & Alla Eberstein

University of Tasmania English Language College (TAS)

Developing learner self-assessment skills in speaking fluency

Emily Edwards

The English Language Company (NSW)

Developing learner autonomy through assessment

Damien Herlihy & Zeke Pottage

Swinburne College (VIC)

Formative assessment of pronunciation using VoiceThread

Leesa Horn

Deakin University English Language Institute (VIC)

Using portfolios

Elizabeth Woods

University of Newcastle English Language Centre (NSW)

Formative speaking assessment

Megan Yucel & Vicki Bos

Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education, University of Queensland (QLD)

Diagnostic assessment of pronunciation


Action Research workshop 2


Vicki Bos and Megan Yucel from ICTE-UQ discuss their project with Zeke Pottage from Swinburne College during the second program workshop, held in July 2012.


Congratulations to Damien Herlihy & Zeke Pottage on winning the 2012 Action Research in ELICOS Award, sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment. Vicki Bos and Megan Yucel's project was highly commended.



Outcomes of the 2012 Action Research in ELICOS Program have been published in Cambridge English Research Notes 53, August 2013.

Click here for a PDF summary of action research outcomes or contact the English Australia secretariat, easec@englishaustralia.com.au, for a hard copy.

2012 AREP summaries