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An Intern’s Words: Senyung Lee

January 15, 2019

Michigan Language Assessment’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. In 2018, Michigan Language Assessment welcomed two interns. The following is from Senyung Lee, one of the 2018 interns.

Senyung Lee is a PhD candidate in second language studies at Indiana University, focusing on second language assessment. Her main research interests are testing L2 collocations and L2 writing assessment.

Intern stands in front of scoreboard outside of Big House gate
Senyung Lee

One of the main reasons I applied to intern at Michigan Language Assessment was to gain experience in quality assurance practices in a large-scale assessment context. Most of my previous hands-on experiences in language testing have been writing test specifications, writing items, and developing rubrics, but I have not worked with post-development phases. I was excited when I learned that Michigan Language Assessment provides opportunities to work on quality management of existing tests.

I was tasked with laying out possible revisions of one of the tests, and I learned a great deal about stakeholder interests and practical concerns regarding a large-scale international English test. This was invaluable experience for me because I learned to consider a big picture of the whole test administration rather than just focusing on test constructs and individual items at the micro level. In addition, interns were invited to staff meetings, and it allowed me to understand how staff members with different specialties work as a cohesive team.

Outside of work, I did my best to try different cuisines in Ann Arbor’s famous restaurants. Ann Arbor is such a vibrant city with great restaurants and coffee shops, and I will miss having a variety of options for food. I was also able to enjoy the Ann Arbor Summer Festival to the fullest.

My internship was only for eight weeks, but I feel I not only learned a lot about language assessment but also met great people. The friendly environment where all staff members are eager to help each other and learn new things was one of the best parts of the internship. I’d also like to thank Gad Lim and Rachel Basse for their support and very accommodating supervision they provided. This was an amazing opportunity for me to develop as a language tester.

An Intern’s Words: Phuong Nguyen

January 15, 2019

Michigan Language Assessment’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. In 2018, Michigan Language Assessment welcomed two interns. The following is from Phuong Nguyen, one of our 2018 interns.

Phuong Nguyen received her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She taught academic English and English-for-Specific-Purposes courses to university-level students in Vietnam. Recently, she interned at the Center for Applied Linguistics with WIDA’s ACCESS 2.0 test development team and at Michigan Language Assessment working on MET Go! She is currently a PhD student in Applied Linguistics and Technology with a minor in statistics at Iowa State University where she also works as an assistant coordinator for the English Placement Test and instructor for an introductory linguistics course.

Woman in black dress smiling in front of people sitting in chairs facing a stage.
Phuong Nguyen in Ann Arbor.

My future career goal is working for language testing agencies to develop language tests and investigate the extent to which language tests are well-designed to elicit valid, reliable, and relevant information about examinees. I applied for an internship at Michigan Language Assessment because I knew that it was a perfect place to experience firsthand how professionals collaborate in designing high-quality assessments and to broaden my perspective as a language tester/researcher.

During my time as an intern, I was involved in many projects related to the new MET Go! test. Most of my time was spent researching the use of checklists as a rating tool, examining the functionality of the rating tools for the speaking and writing tests, and helping test developers revise the rating tools and draft test development reports. These projects not only allowed me to apply what I had learned from my graduate programs, they also broadened my horizons. I learned many things from my mentors, Patrick and Gad, and other test developers, including knowledge about learning-oriented assessment and new R packages. I also appreciated being involved in various meetings with different test development teams, which helped me understand the enormous amount of time, organization, collaboration, and creativity needed before launching a new test. I also enjoyed the supportive working environment and the friendly staff at Michigan Language Assessment and the fact that our collaboration will extend beyond the internship.

Overall, this internship was a valuable experience for me to grow professionally. And this experience was perfected by the beautiful, multicultural Ann Arbor, which I totally fell in love with.

Meet Rita Simpson-Vlach, Educational Materials Developer

January 10, 2019 | By: CJ Pettus

Michigan Language Assessment will soon offer a more robust set of educational materials. Rita Simpson-Vlach joined Michigan Language Assessment as the educational materials developer in the fall of 2018. She’ll support teachers and test centers by developing new educational resources that include test preparation materials and classroom activities for skill-specific development.

Rita Simpson-Vlach
Rita Simpson-Vlach

Developing teaching materials taps into my creative process as a teacher, a writer, and a language expert.

Rita is an experienced EFL and ESL teacher. She earned her PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan, holds a K–12 teaching credential, and she’s worked with learners of all ability levels and ages in both the United States and abroad. Rita has experience training teachers and she has taught in a graduate-level teacher preparation program (MA TESOL), as well as designed and conducted teacher training seminars, workshops, and in-service professional development courses for EFL and ESL teachers.

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Linking MET Go! and the CEFR

November 29, 2018

Linking the MET Go! and the Common European Framework of Reference summarizes the results of a standard setting study that was conducted to link scores on each section of the MET Go! to the proficiency levels of the Common European Framework of Reference.

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First Test Centers Administering MET Go!

November 8, 2018

Language learners ages 11 to 15 are now proving their English with MET Go!, the newest Michigan Language Assessment test.

MET Go! is an appealing 4-skills test that offers full-color illustrations and modern, age-appropriate content and activities. It’s an affordable way for people to demonstrate proficiency for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages levels A1–B1.

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