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Cambridge English Language Assessment/ILTA Distinguished Achievement Award - Dr. Carolyn E. Turner

Sunday, April 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
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It is with great pleasure that we announce that the winner of the 2018 Cambridge English Language Assessment /ILTA Distinguished Achievement Award is Dr. Carolyn E. Turner. 


Carolyn Turner completed her PhD in Second Language Education at McGill University in 1988 with a dissertation on the factor structure of cloze test performance in francophone university level students. She went on to work as Assistant then Associate Professor at McGill for a further 26 years, expanding her research interests to encompass many dimensions of language assessment including co-constructed discourse in interactive assessment contexts, the development of empirically oriented rating scales, healthcare professionals’ language ability in serving linguistic minorities and, most recently, the theory and practice of learning oriented assessment (LOA). These diverse interests and areas of expertise are reflected in her many peer-reviewed publications, in numerous conference and workshop presentations and in the various projects and consultancies she has taken with local and international agencies over the course of her academic career. Her work on rating scale development with John Upshur and learning oriented assessment with James Purpura can be considered ground-breaking and she has led the field in the application of mixed methods approaches to test development and test validation. Marks of her international standing are her many invited contributions to encyclopaedias, handbooks and other edited collections as well as the awards received by herself and her graduate students over the years.


Mentorship of students has been a central plank of Carolyn’s career. Under her tutelage, thousands of Applied Linguistics scholars from a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs have received a grounding in classroom language assessment, language testing, educational measurement and research methods. She has supervised 12 PhD students, 25 Master’s thesis students, 25 MEd Monographs and served on 21 PhD advisory committees, as well as volunteering for countless other supervisory and mentorship tasks at her institution. Her current and former students have joined forces in making a powerful case for  Carolyn’s candidacy for this award, speaking highly of her collegiality and support for their development as language testing professionals as well as her qualities as teacher and researcher more generally. Many of these students have gone on to forge impressive careers as language testers in their own right and some continue to collaborate with Carolyn on various assessment-related projects.

Apart from her teaching, mentoring and research contributions Carolyn has an outstanding record of professional service at her own institution as well as nationally and internationally. She was a founding member of the Canadian Association for Language Assessment and  has served and continues to serve on numerous  government committees concerned with the ESL teaching, assessment and evaluation at various levels of schooling. She is a current Board member and former Associate Editor for Language Assessment Quarterly and has served as Member and Chair of the TOEFL-TSE Committee and on the Steering Committee for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Aviation English Language Testing Service (AELTS). Last but not least, she made a major and sustained contribution to the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) serving two terms as member at large and later taking on the roles  Vice-President, President and Past President (2007 to 2012).  Carolyn has been involved and continues to be involved with key ILTA committees including the Consulting Committee for the Working Group on Language Test Standards and the Code of Ethics, the joint ICAO/ILTA Task Force and Advisory Committee for the development of a Conformance Service for Aviation English Tests and the recently formed ILTA’s Advocacy/Public Engagement Committee. She has also assumed major responsibilities for the organization of ILTA’s annual conference both as member of the Organizing Committee for LTRC Ottawa 2005 and as co-Chair with James Purpura for LTRC Barcelona 2007. 

On the basis of Carolyn Turner’s rigorous scholarship, her collaborative approach to working with her colleagues and students and her tireless service and commitment to the betterment of language testing policies and practices in the wider community the Award Committee has reached a unanimous verdict in granting her the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award.  


Claudia Harsch (Chair), Cathie Elder, Tony Green and Nick Saville

(DAA Award Committee)


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