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Dr Dianne Wall

Formerly at Lancaster University

Dianne Wall

Research Interests

I am a specialist in language testing, with a particular interest in the development of large-scale testing systems (mainly national level), the impact of high-stakes examinations on teaching and learning, and the assessment of English for Academic Purposes.

From 2008 to 2013 I was also Head of Academic Research and Development at Trinity College London, an examination board that assesses English as a Foreign Language, Music, Drama and Speech, Dance and the Visual Arts.

You can read about my work at Trinity in an interview published in the EL Gazette, called 'Testing with a Human Face'.

I am co-author (with J. Charles Alderson and Caroline Clapham) of Language Testing Construction and Evaluation (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and author of The Impact of High-Stakes Examinations on Classroom Teaching: A Case Study Using Insights from Testing and Innovation Theory (Studies in Language Testing Series, Volume 22 - Cambridge ESOL and Cambridge University Press, 2005).

I was Project Director of the TOEFL Impact Study project, a 5-year project funded by Educational Testing Service. The purpose of this project was to investigate the effects of changes in the TOEFL examination on teaching Central and Eastern Europe. The results of the first two stages of this project are published on the TOEFL Research website, and the final report will be published in June 2011.

I have served as consultant and trainer to examination reform projects in the Baltic States, St Petersburg, the Slovak Republic and Croatia. I have also assisted in the construction and evaluation of examinations and the training of examination personnel for the Russian President's Management Training Initiative and the British Council Peace-keeping English Project.

I have conducted training courses and consultancies in many countries, and delivered presentations on testing-related matters at national and international conferences.

I was formerly editor of Language Testing Update, the official newsletter for the International Language Testing Association (ILTA). (with Jayanti Banerjee)

I am an active member of the European Association of Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA), and a member of the EALTA Expert Panel.

Additional Information


2014.   Communicative Language Testing (CLT):  Reflections on the ‘Issues Revisited’, from the perspective on an examinations board.   Language Assessment Quarterly 11/2.  Pp. 170-185.  (with Cathy Taylor)

2012.  Washback in Language Testing. In Chapelle, C. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell.

2012. Washback.  In Fulcher, G., & Davidson, F. (Eds). Routledge Handbook of Language Testing. Routledge.

2011 The TOEFL Impact Study: Phase 3, The Role of the Coursebook, and Phase 4, Describing Change. Final report on long-term study of changes in the TOEFL on teaching in a sample of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. (withTania Horak).  TOEFL iBT Research Series No. 17.


2010 Publication of Japanese translation of Language Test Construction and Evaluation (for details of original volume, see 1995 below). Translated by Dr Yoshinori Watanabe.

2008 The TOEFL Impact Study: Phase 2. Coping with Change.  TOEFL iBT Research Series No. 5.  Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. (with Tania Horak)


2007 Using Baseline Studies in the Investigation of Test Impact. Assessment in Education 14(1). pp.99-116. (with Tania Horak)

2006 The TOEFL Impact Study: Phase 1. The Baseline Study.   TOEFL Monograph 34.  Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. (with Tania Horak)    http://www.ets.org/research/policy_research_reports/publications/report/2008/hspw

2006 Assessing Achievement on Pre-Sessional English for Academic Purposes Courses. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5(1). : pp. 50-69. (with Jayanti Banerjee)

2005 The Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Classroom Teaching: A Case Study Using Insights from Testing and Innovation Theory. Studies in Language Testing, Volume 22. Cambridge ESOL and Cambridge University Press.

2005 Language testing in the military: problems, politics and progress. Language Testing 22(3). pp 379-398. (with Rita Green)

2000 The impact of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning: Can this be predicted or controlled? System 28/4:499-510.

2000 Publication of Chinese edition of Language Test Construction and Evaluation (for details of original volume, see 1995 below). Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press and Cambridge University Press.

1998 The Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Teaching and Learning, in Coombe, C.A. (Ed.) Current Trends in English Language Testing. Proceeding for CTELT Conference 1998. Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

1998 Publication of Examenes de idiomas: elaboración y evaluación. Spanish translation of Language Test Construction and Evaluation (for details of original volume, see 1995 below).Cambridge University Press: Madrid.  Translated by Dr Neus Figueras.

1997 Test Impact and Washback, in Clapham, C. & Corson, D. (Eds.). Language Testing and Evaluation, Volume 7 of Kluwer Encyclopedia of Language Education. pp. 291-302.

1996 Introducing new tests into traditional systems: insights from general education and from innovation theory. Language Testing 13/3: 334-354.

1996 Examining Washback: The Sri Lankan Impact Study, in Cumming, A & Berwick, R. (Eds.). Validation in Language Testing. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd. (with J.C. Alderson) (Reprint of 1993 article - see below.) pp 194-221.

1995 Language Test Construction and Evaluation) (with J.C. Alderson and C. Clapham). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

(available in Spanish translation 1998, Chinese edition 2000, Japanese translation 2010, South Asian edition 2011 - for details see these dates above.    Korean edition to be published in near future.)

1994 Evaluating a Placement Test. Language Testing 11/3:321-344. (with C. Clapham and J.C. Alderson)

1994 The Testing of Speaking', in GRETA: Revista para Profesores de Ingles. Vol 2/1:5-10. Granada.

1994 Measuring Examination Washback: The Sri Lankan Evaluation Project, in Flavell, R (Ed.) ELT policy and its impact: a case study, Review of English Language Teaching 4/1. Modern English Publications in association with The British Council. pp 103-122

1993 Examining Washback: The Sri Lankan Impact Study'. Language Testing 10/1:41-69. (with J.C. Alderson).

1993 Does Washback Exist? Applied Linguistics 14/2:115-129.  (with J. C. Alderson)

1990 Validating Tests in Difficult Circumstances, in Alderson, J.C. and B. North (Eds.) Language Testing in the 1990s: The Communicative Legacy, Macmillan Publishers. pp 209-225. (with J.C. Alderson and C. Clapham)

1988 Developing Student Writing - A Subject Tutor and Language Tutors Compare Points of View, in Robinson, P. (Ed.) Academic Writing: Process and Product, Modern English Publications with The British Council. pp 117-129. (with A. Nickson, R.R. Jordan, J. Allwright and D. Houghton)

1987 Co-Editor (with S. Windeatt) of Alderson, J.C. Innovation in Language Testing: Can the Micro-Computer Help? , Special Report No. 1, Language Testing Update, Lancaster

1982 A Study of the Predictive Validity of the Michigan Battery, in Culhane, T. et al (Eds.) Practice and Problems in Language Testing IV, Colchester: University of Essex, Dept. of Language and Linguistics. pp 156-169.

1981 A Pre-Sessional Academic Writing Course for Postgraduate Students in Economics, in Sealey, G. (ed.) Practical Papers in English Language Education, Volume 4. Lancaster: Institute for English Language Education. pp 31-105.

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