National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) in China and British Council jointly held the 3rd International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment and the 5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference in Shanghai, 2017. In order to share more comprehensive introduction to the leading developments in the field of assessment, the British Council would like to hold a series of symposia in April, 2018 in 4 cities to provide the opportunity and platform for industry professionals to exchange ideas and experiences.

Target audience

With a focus on China’s Standards of English, the symposia seek to attract education and testing practitioners, policy makers and implementers, and other stakeholders with an interest in the impact of assessment on education. 

Time and venue

16 April East China session -- Nanjing - Nanjing Grand Hotel
23 April Southwest China session -- Kunming - Kunming University of Science and Technology
25 April North China session -- Daqing - Da Qing Museum 
27 April South China session -- Guangzhou - Guangzhou Easeland Hotel


1. Plenary Speakers 

Topic: China’s Standards of English

  • Sha Wu is now serving as Director of Foreign Language Assessment Department, National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA in short), Ministry of Education, China. NEEA is responsible for the test development and the test administration of many national examination programs in China, e.g. Gaokao. NEEA is now undertaking several reform tasks in Gaokao, esp. in the area of foreign language tests.

    Ms. Wu has been deeply involved in the test development and administration of quite a few language tests programs and is now engaged in the development of China’s Standards of English (CSE) and a new English language test product.

  • Mengmeng Cheng is an associate researcher, and the Deputy Director of Foreign Language Assessment Department at National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA), under the Chinese Ministry of Education. NEEA is responsible for test development and administration for many national examinations programs in China, including the Gaokao. NEEA is now undertaking several reforms to the Gaokao, particularly in the area of foreign language tests. Ms. Mengmeng Cheng is deeply engaged in the development of China’s Standards of English (CSE).
  • Jianda Liu is a professor and dean of the National Key Research Center for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He is currently vice-president of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He has worked in designing, developing, and validating language tests in China. His research interests include language testing, pragmatics, and second language acquisition. He has published many papers in different academic journals. His recent book entitled Measuring Interlanguage Pragmatic Knowledge of EFL Learners was published by Peter Lang. He is now leading the development of China’s Standards of English.
  • Baocheng Han is Deputy Director of the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University, China. He also serves on the Executive Board of China Language Assessment (CLA) and the China Council for Self-taught Higher Education Examinations. As a professor of Applied Linguistics, his main interests lie in the field of language assessment and language education. He has specific expertise in the nature of language ability, and extensive experience of working on test design and development projects. Professor Han has published widely in the field, and advised institutions on aspects of language assessment.

Topic: Establishing Principles and Procedures for Linking Examinations to the China Standards of English

  • Barry O’Sullivan is Head of Assessment Research & Development at the British Council, and creator of the Aptis testing service. He has almost 100 publications and delivered over 160 conference presentations around the world (over half as keynote, invited or plenary). His most recent book is English on the Global Stage: the British Council and English Language Testing 1941 to 2016, co-authored with Cyril Weir (Equinox 2017). Barry is active in language testing globally working with ministries, universities and examination boards on test development and validation projects. He is interested in the past and future of language testing, validation theory, communicating validation outcomes, and technology in assessing productive skills. He is the founding president of the United Kingdom Association for Language Testing and Assessment (UKALTA), holds honorary and visiting professorships at the Universities of Reading, Roehampton and Lisbon, and was awarded fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2016.
  • Jamie Dunlea is a Senior Researcher for the Language Assessment Research Group at the British Council, based in London. He has 25 years of experience working in EFL education, first as a teacher, then in test development and production and assessment research. He has worked on a number of large-scale national and international test development projects as well as advising institutions and ministries on assessment reform in education systems. His areas of interest and recent work include the application of validity theory to local testing contexts and linking examinations to frameworks and standards such as the CEFR, development contexts.

Topic: Standard Setting/Language Framework

  • Neus Figueras Casanovas coordinated for 20 years the development of foreign language curricula and certificate examinations for adult learners in the regional Ministry of Education in Catalonia, Spain. She has been involved in a number of international research and development projects, and has given courses and presented in universities in Spain, in various European countries, in Asia and in the USA.

    She collaborates regularly with the Council of Europe in the uses and the dissemination of the CEFR in testing and assessment and is one of the authors of the Manual for Relating examinations to the CEFR (Council of Europe, 2009). Her current interests also include assessment literacy and the development of context relevant assessments. She was the first President (2004-7) of EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment, www.ealta.eu.org) and received the Third International British Council International Assessment Award in 2015. 

  • Jessica Wu holds a PhD in Language Testing. She is currently Program Director of the R&D Office at the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC). She also teaches language testing courses in the PhD program of the National Taiwan Normal University. She has been deeply involved in the research and development of the General English Proficiency Test (GEPT), which targets English learners at all levels in Taiwan. She also serves as an adviser to the government at a national level on the development of L1 tests. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in the field of language testing and has presented her work at conferences around the world. She is currently President of the Asian Association for Language Assessment (AALA).
  • Keita Nakamura, is a researcher and also the manager of the research and development section of Eiken Foundation of Japan. He is also currently a member of the Japanese ministry of education’s working group of linking examinations to CEFR. He has worked on the development and validation of various tests for Japanese learners of English. His most recent interested areas are on 1) the development and validation of automated scoring based on machine learning and 2) the application of brain wave to measure English proficiency. 

2. Workshop Speakers  

  • Xiangdong Gu is a full time professor, PhD supervisor and director in Chongqing University, China. She also works with Cambridge English Language Assessment, Cambridge University, UK as an academic consultant since 2012. Her main research interests span across language assessment, teacher development and foreign language educational data mining. She is leading a key research project on language assessment supported by the National Philosophy and Social Science Foundation of China [Grant No.14AYY010]. She has published dozens of journal articles and has given scores of invited keynote speeches, seminars and presentations in universities and at conferences nationally and internationally.
  • Shijin Wang is President of IFLYTEK Beijing Research, Vice President of IFLYTEK AI Research and Executive Director of Joint Laboratory by IFLYTEK and Harbin Institute of Technology. He graduated from University of Science and Technology of China in 2003 with a bachelor degree in Electronic Science and Technology and received his PHD degree in Pattern Recognition & Intelligent System from Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    He has been researching in the fields of Speech Processing, Natural Language Processing and other artificial intelligence technologies like smart Education, Justice for a long time. He led the team that won the first prize in International Oral Translation (English to Chinese as well as Chinese to English) in 2014’s IWSLT competition, and the first place in Machine Reading Comprehension testing(SQUAD,2017.8.1). He is a member of the AIIA(Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance of China) expert committee and Vice leader of technology and industry working group of AIIA , Young Expert of Internet Association of China .
  • Zhongrong Yu Holds a Master’s degree of Education. He is director of Language Testing & Education Programs of Iflytek. In 2007~2008, as product manager, he and his colleagues developed PSCP (intelligent Platform of national Putonghua Shuiping Ceshi/ mandarin level testing), which has tested more than 30,000,000 test-takers all over China. In 2008~2009, his team developed the website www.Isay365.com, which provided automatic PSC mock-test and Putonghua practice services. In 2008~2016, his team developed automatic Spoken English Testing technology and platform, which is used in Gaokao & Zhongkao of Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Hubei, Guizhou, Chongqing, ets. His interest is currently in developing technological systems for linking China’s language education with those abroad, such as TOEFL and IELTS, helping Chinese students to learn better with the help of AI technologies.
  • Hongchen XU is professor, MA supervisor and vice-dean of  the Department of English and International Studies, China Foreign Affairs University. He held his PhD from Peking University in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics in 2009 and continued his post-doctoral research in the National Research Center of Foreign Language Education, Beijing Foreign Studies University (2009-2011). His main research interests integrate issues in language teaching/learning and sociolinguistics. He has published about 40 journal articles and delivered over 20 keynote speeches, seminars and presentations nationally and internationally. 
  • Evan Simpson, since 2003, Evan has had the honour and privilege of teaching English to speakers from around the world. Specifically, he has taught everything from absolute beginner kindergarten students to first-year composition. Currently, he is based in Shanghai where he serves as an Assessment Solutions Consultant for the British Council. In this role, he delivers assessment literacy workshops and analyses assessments. 
  • Philip Horne, an Assessment Consultant for British Council China.  He has worked on numerous assessment-related projects in the Middle East, East Asia and South-East Asia.  These relate to exam preparation, assessment literacy and item writing.  He is pursuing an MA in Language Testing through Lancaster University where his research interests include assessing pronunciation, Global English and Language Assessment Literacy.  


Please find below the programme of the 5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference Post Symposia

Registration guide:

Conference fee: RMB 800 for working professional, RMB 500 for PhD student (including conference materials, buffet lunch and tea break. All the breakfast, dinner, transportation and accommodation will be covered by participants.)

Conference payment:  We’d like to recommend you use online payment for registration. No payment service is available at the conference. Thank you for your understanding.

Conference language: The conference official language is English. 

16 April East China session -- Nanjing


23 April Southwest China session -- Kunming
25 April North China session -- Daqing
27 April South China session -- Guangzhou