Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments

Shaping English Language Assessments
with Research + Experience

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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.

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