An Intern’s Words: Yiran Xu
October 21, 2019
Categories: Internships

Michigan Language Assessment’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. In 2019, Michigan Language Assessment welcomed two interns. The following is from Yiran Xu, one of the 2019 interns.

Yiran Xu is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Georgetown University. She received her MA in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and BA in English Language and Literature from Qingdao University in China. She conducts research in the fields of second language acquisition (SLA) and language testing with a primary focus on the development and assessment of L2 writing. She has been working for the Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC) at Georgetown University since 2016, where she helped plan several language testing conferences and collaboratively developed a Mandarin C-test for research purposes. She is currently working on her dissertation “L2 Writing Complexity in Academic Legal Discourse: Development and Assessment under a Curricular Lens.”

Michigan Language Assessment (MLA) is a wonderful place for a summer internship, as it allows me to get a taste of large-scale international language assessment and apply my knowledge in SLA and language assessment to actual test development. It has been a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience.

During my internship, I was tasked with two assignments which required me to work both independently and collaboratively. The first assignment was to prepare a literature review that summarizes and synthesizes scholarship on training standard-setting panelists and propose a new standard-setting study. The second assignment was to work collaboratively with a Writing Revision Team to develop a new rating scale for ECPE writing and plan the pilot study and data analysis. Both assignments allowed me to actively engage with the most updated research and constantly explore the intersections between theory and practice in a large-scale assessment setting. While working on my assignments, I learned how to use FACETS in conducting multi-facet Rasch analysis with the help of Gad and Patrick. I also attended different test development meetings regularly where I gained numerous practical insights from my colleagues with different backgrounds and years of test development experience.

The MLA community is very welcoming and efficient. Thanks to their well-planned orientation program, I was able to quickly adjust myself to the new working environment without feeling overwhelmed. My mentors Sharon and Patrick were extremely patient and supportive. They were always available to answer my questions and direct me to the right resources. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who is looking for short-term working experience and/or long-term research collaboration.

During my free time, I enjoyed chatting over lunch breaks and taking a walk in the neighborhood with my colleagues. It was also very nice to live in Ann Arbor again – I met with some old friends and went to the Summer Festival and the Art Fair which I didn’t have a chance to explore in the past.