Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments

Shaping English Language Assessments
with Research + Experience

CaMLA News

An Intern’s Words: Mayu Miyamoto

September 21, 2017

CaMLA’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. In 2017, CaMLA welcomed two interns. The following is from , one of our 2017 interns.

Mayu Miyamoto is a third-year Applied Linguistics Ph.D. student at Purdue University focusing on the assessment of speaking proficiency and computer-assisted language learning for both English and Japanese as second languages. In addition to these areas of focus, Mayu works closely with faculty at Purdue to research language assessment, phonetics and phonology, and second language acquisition. She did her MA in Japanese Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition at Purdue University, and received her BA in Foreign Studies from Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan.

It was on the very last page of the 2016 MwALT conference program, where I saw the advertisement for the CaMLA internship opportunity. As I had been longing for an opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge into practice and gain hands-on experience in a large-scale testing setting, I couldn’t let this opportunity just pass me by.

Mayu Miyamoto with three members of the assessment group

Mayu (second from right) with three members of the assessment team.

Through my graduate coursework, I have gained a theoretical understanding of language testing and the art of creating effective assessments. My previous experiences in language testing were mainly in small-scale settings such as achievement tests or in a small aspect of a large-scale test. What I really wanted was to gain a better understanding of the testing cycle as a whole, from development to quality assurance. I was also eager to learn the intricacies of an internationally successful language testing company.

During my time at CaMLA, I worked on quality assurance of CaMLA speaking tests by identifying aberrant raters (for ECCE) and recommending adjustments to the examiner/rater certification tolerances (for ECCE, ECPE, and MET). I was especially interested in how speaking tests were developed and rated, thus these projects fit my interests well. As I worked on these projects independently, my mentors provided me with feedback and helped me get access to the information I needed. In addition to the projects I worked on, I found the training sessions and individual meetings with the department directors very valuable. Just as I expected, I was able to gain insights into test development as a whole, and benefited from the personal experience I received in each domain of the testing process.

Although two months was too short, I am certain that this experience at CaMLA will have a great impact on my future career. Mostly because of the great people I worked with, I enjoyed every second of my internship. All CaMLA staff are friendly, supportive and knowledgeable. It was a great honor to be a part of this great team. Ann Arbor is a great city to live in, and CaMLA is a great company to work for. If you are considering this internship opportunity, think no longer. Just apply! I assure you it will be a great experience for you too, just like it was for me.

An Intern’s Words: YunDeok Choi

September 11, 2017

CaMLA’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. In 2017, CaMLA welcomed two interns. The following is from YunDeok Choi, one of our 2017 interns.

YunDeok Choi did her MA in Second Language Studies at University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, her MS in Linguistics at Georgetown University, and received her BA in English Language and Literature from Sunkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. She currently is working on her PhD dissertation study, “Investigating the Validity of a Graphic-Prompt Writing Test: An Argument-Based Approach,” under the guidance of Professor Carol Chapelle, and is teaching an oral communication strategies class for international students at Iowa State University.

YunDeok with Cambridge Michigan assessment staff.

YunDeok (center) with some of the Cambridge Michigan team.

I became interested in the CaMLA internship for two reasons. First and foremost, CaMLA is a well-established testing company that is well known to many testing people, and many graduate students desire to work at CaMLA (either as an intern or as a full-time worker). So I thought that I would learn a lot about language testing best practices, especially with regard to test development. Secondly, I read the previous interns’ words on the website and the impression that I got was that CaMLA had a warm and hard-working environment full of approachable people. I had never worked at a testing company before, so I wanted to start my career at a friendly place where I could get a lot of support. CaMLA was by far a greater place than I expected.

In my internship I hoped to gain hands-on professional experience in language testing; I wanted to learn what testing professionals did, and how they did the work. Before starting the internship program, I had only a vague idea. However, while doing the internship, I began having clearer ideas about their business and work—I learned the importance of teamwork by observing and participating in the projects that CaMLA staff involved—luckily, I worked on some of the projects (small part of an item bank project and test revision project) with them. My main project (primarily individual, but I worked under Nic May’s guidance) was creating a report that addressed the feasibility of machine scoring of writing for several of CaMLA’s tests. This involved a thorough literature review and an analysis of several of CaMLA’s current writing tasks.

I am sure the practical hands-on experience at CaMLA at both an individual and a team level will be helpful for my future career as a language testing professional, without regards to the place I work (either a school or company). And I think there’s no better place to work than CaMLA, and to live than Ann Arbor. CaMLA guarantees a quality life for their staff, including interns, and Ann Arbor is a place full of pleasant events and activities; people will never get burned out working at CaMLA and living in Ann Arbor.

Job Opening: CaMLA Writing Rater

August 1, 2017

CaMLA is accepting applications for a CaMLA Writing Rater. If you’re interested in applying, review the qualifications and application details and apply online.

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Investigating Lexico-grammatical Complexity as Construct Validity Evidence for the ECPE Writing Tasks: A Multidimensional Analysis

May 8, 2017

The first of the 2016 CaMLA Working Papers is now available. CaMLA Working Papers present the findings from research undertaken as part of the Spaan Research Grant Program and by CaMLA staff.
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MELAB Linked to CEFR

April 3, 2017

The recently published Linking the Common European Framework of Reference and the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery summarizes the results of a multi-panel standard setting study that was conducted with panelists in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).

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