Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments

Shaping English Language Assessments
with Research + Experience

An intern’s words: Xun Yan
July 24, 2014
Categories: Internships

CaMLA’s internship program provides professional training and research opportunities for English language teaching and assessment professionals and graduate students. This is the second of three pieces we’ll post about how our 2014 interns are getting along during their time at CaMLA. We asked them some questions, and they’ve provided us with a few words about their impressions after a month or so in the office.

Xun Yan is originally from China. He is currently a PhD candidate in second language studies at Purdue University, with special research interests in language testing, educational measurement, second language acquisition, and world Englishes.

It’s been two months since my first day at CaMLA. The internship thus far has been a wonderful and unique experience which has opened my eyes to new opportunities and positively changed my perspectives for the future in ways I did not foresee.

Xun

During his time interning at CaMLA, Xun has also spent a few weekends traveling to Detroit, Traverse City, the Bay region, and Mackinac Island. Here’s Xun with the famous Mackinac Bridge off in the distance.

The project I participated in—which utilizes research synthesis, corpus analysis, and analyses of rater discussions to inform revision to the ECPE writing scale—has been an enlightening experience. I am grateful to CaMLA’s research director, Dr. Jayanti Banerjee, who has guided me through the “ups and downs” of the research project and given me considerable support and feedback along the way. I would also like to thank Patrick McLain; discussing R programming, structural equation modeling, and effective essay-transcribing strategies with him has been a great pleasure for me. The project has expanded my research expertise from speaking assessment to writing assessment. I am also glad that what I have learned at graduate school can be applied to make a difference.

Originally, I applied for the CaMLA research internship with the aim to enhance my research skills in language testing and educational measurement. However, during the internship, I have also had opportunities to attend training sessions on a range of topics associated with different stages of test development, administration, quality control, and validation. These sessions have broadened my horizon on the array of efforts in the quality management of language assessments developed at CaMLA.

Apart from work, I’ve tried to make the most of summer in Michigan. Because of my cravings for good food, I have been trying different restaurants around Ann Arbor. The variety of cuisines here makes me worry about the “food culture shock” when I go back to Indiana. I have also spent a few weekends traveling to Detroit, Traverse City, the Bay region, and Mackinac Island.

The twelve-week internship will end in a few weeks. I am really grateful and lucky to have worked with the wonderful staff at CaMLA. The collaborative environment and the amount of support at CaMLA has been an inspiration to me. The internship has been a great progression for me after four years of graduate training in language testing. I feel confident implementing the skills and knowledge I learned during my internship in my future career as a language tester and second language researcher.

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