Lancaster PhD student wins the 2009 Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award

Date: 2 February 2009

Congratulations to Spiros Papageorgiou, whose 2008 Lancaster PhD has won the 2009 Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award.

The dissertation, entitled Setting standards in Europe: The judges' contribution to relating language examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference, was praised by the judges for its originality and creativity.

Excerpt from the judges citation:

'We have found this study quite original both in terms of content and methodology. First, the study is original because it focuses on a topic that has rarely been reported on before in publicly accessible documents. Although there has been a great demand for linking tests to the CEFR, very few studies to date have examined how judges actually link their decision making to the CEFR descriptions, and what potential problems can be expected. The study is also original in its use of qualitative data to supplement the quantitative data.

It sets a good example for investigating research questions, utilizing the most optimal types of data collected through theoretically appropriate methods. Above all, we were impressed by Dr. Papageorgiou's creative application of group dynamics approaches to analyze how the standard setting group functioned, and how best to create groups for purposes of standard setting. The outcome of such analyses is important because it demonstrates that raters can be appropriately socialized to rank order language-task descriptors into close alignment with the CEFR scales.'

We also congrutulate Charles Alderson. Three of his students have now won this prize: Caroline Clapham, Gary Buck, and now Spiros.


Further information

Associated staff: J. Charles Alderson

Associated departments and research centres: Centre for Research in Language Education (CRILE), Linguistics and English Language