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Alan Urmston

Assistant Professor

Contact Details:
Phone Number

Address:
Room CF701b
English Language Centre
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Academic Details:

Self-introduction:
I am Assistant Professor in the English Language Centre at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Team Leader responsible for the Graduating Students Language Proficiency Assessment (GSLPA).

I have been working in Hong Kong since 1989. In addition to working at Poly U, I have taught English in the local secondary and tertiary sectors. Between 2001 and 2005 I was Subject Officer for the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers (English) at the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

I hold a PhD (with distinction) in Educational Linguistics from the University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire) and an MA (with distinction) in TESL from the City University of Hong Kong.

Qualifications:
PhD

Publications:

Urmston, A., Raquel, M. R., & Aryadoust, V. (2016). Can diagnosing university students' English proficiency facilitate language development? In J. Read (Ed.). Post-Admission Language Assessment in Universities: International Perspectives. Springer.
Show abstract Open webpage
Urmston, A. & Raquel, M. R. (2016). Issues in Developing a Diagnostic Language Assessment in Hong Kong. In V. Aryadoust and J. Fox (Eds.) Trends in Language Assessment Research and Practice: The View from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Show abstract Open webpage
Urmston, A., Raquel, M. & Tsang, C. (2013). Diagnostic Testing of Hong Kong Tertiary Students' English Language Proficiency: The Development and Validation of DELTA. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics 14 (2), 60-82.
Show abstract Open webpage
Urmston, A. & Pennington, M. C. (2008). The beliefs and practices of novice teachers in Hong Kong: change and resistance to change in an Asian teaching context. In T.S.C. Farrell (Ed.), Novice Language Teachers: Insights and Perspectives for the First Year (pp. 89-103). London: Equinox Publishing Ltd.
Urmston, A. (2003). Learning to Teach English in Hong Kong: The Opinions of Teachers in Training. Language and Education, 17(2), 112-137.
Urmston, A. (1998). Patterns of Change in an English Language Teaching Community: Hong Kong During the Period of Transition from British to Chinese Rule. Research Report, Series 1, No. 4, Language Research Centre, University of Luton.
Pennington, M. C., & Urmston, A. (1998). The teaching orientation of graduating students on a BATESL course in Hong Kong: A comparison with first-year students. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics3, 17-46. Open webpage
Urmston, A. (1998). Changing Negative Attitudes. In J.C. Richards (Ed.), Teaching in Action: Case Studies from Second Language Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: TESOL, pp.160-163.
Pennington, M. C., Richards, J. C., Urmston, A., & Lee, Y. P. (1996). Learning to teach English in Hong Kong: The first year in the classroom. Research Monograph No. 13, Department of English, City University of Hong Kong.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7113-8344

Conference Presentations:

The Use of Writing Rubrics for Teaching, Learning and Assessment by Alan Urmston on 19/05/2017 at 5th Writing Roundtable, Hong Kong Polytechnic University Show abstract

Truth and consequences: Managing stakeholders’ expectations of language assessments by Alan Urmston on 25/11/2016 at 18th Academic Forum on English Language Testing in Asia, Hong Kong Show abstract

DELTA Writing: An Online, Automated, Diagnostic Test of Academic Writing by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel on 22/06/2016 at 38th Annual Language Testing Research Colloquium, Palermo, Italy

Truth and Consequences: Managing Stakeholders’ Expectations of Language Assessments by Alan Urmston on 15/10/2015 at 3rd British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference, Seoul, Korea

Issues in Developing a Diagnostic Language Assessment in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel on 30/05/2015 at 12th Annual EALTA Conference, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Automated Diagnostic Scoring, Feedback and Tracking of Academic English Writing Ability by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel on 30/04/2015 at 2nd Annual Asian Association for Language Assessment Conference , Bangkok, Thailand

The Excel@English Scheme: Supporting Language Learning after Diagnostic Testing by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel on 05/06/2014 at 36th Annual Language Testing Research Colloquium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Impact of Educational Background on the DIF of the DELTA Listening Component by Alan Urmston, Gwendoline Guan on 04/06/2014 at 36th Annual Language Testing Research Colloquium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Assessment for Language Development in a Hong Kong University Context by Alan Urmston on 06/11/2013 at The British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference, Beijing, China

Issues in Diagnostic Testing in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel on 27/09/2013 at The Free Linguistics Conference 2013, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Broadening Horizons: Language Assessment, Diagnosis, and Accountability by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang, Michelle Raquel on 03/07/2013 at 35th Language Testing Research Colloquium, Seoul, Korea

Tracking English Proficiency Progress through a Diagnostic Language Assessment by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang, Gwendoline Guan on 03/06/2013 at ELC Symposium: The Position of English Language Provision in Hong Kong Tertiary Institutions, City University of Hong Kong

DELTA: Diagnosing and tracking the English language development of Hong Kong tertiary students by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang on 20/03/2013 at 48th RELC international Seminar: Assessment in Language Education, SEAMEO Regional Language Centre, Singapore

Diagnosing Hong Kong Tertiary Students’ English Language Proficiency by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang, Felicia Fang, Gwendoline Guan, Michelle Raquel, , Cherry Ng, Jerry Gray, Winnie Shum, Roxanne Wong on 01/06/2012 at Academic English Symposium 2012: Research into Practice in the 4-Year Curriculum, University of Hong Kong

Revising the Written Test of a University-level Summative Assessment in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston, Felicia Fang on 03/04/2012 at 33rd Annual Language Testing Research Colloquium, Princeton, NJ, USA

Diagnostic Testing of ESL Reading Skills: Relating Test-taking Strategies to Reading Abilities by Alan Urmston on 22/03/2012 at Annual Conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, Boston, MA, USA

Designing a Valid and Reliable Diagnostic Assessment and Tracking System for Tertiary Level ESL Learners by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang, Felicia Fang, Michelle Raquel on 15/06/2011 at 33rd Language Testing Research Colloquium, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Using a Web-based Language Assessment to Diagnose Student's Reading and Writing Needs by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel, , Jane Lockwood, Eva Lui on 01/06/2011 at ELC Symposium: Developing students as readers and writers in the four-year curriculum: the role of the English Language Centres, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Application of an On-line Diagnostic English Language Test by Alan Urmston, Michelle Raquel, , Jerry Gray, Eva Lui on 04/05/2011 at 11th 334 Symposium: Advancing Teaching and Learning: Evidence, Outcomes and E-learning, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Fitting the Framework: How Raters Co-construct Understandings of Domains and Levels from Different Educational and Assessment Contexts by Alan Urmston, Carrie Tsang, Felicia Fang on 14/04/2010 at 32nd Language Testing Research Colloquium, Cambridge. UK

Selling an Assessment to Sceptical Stakeholders: The GSLPA by Alan Urmston, Felicia Fang on 21/04/2009 at 31st Language Testing Research Colloquium, Denver, CO, USA

Stakeholder Involvement in the Language Assessment Evaluation Process: A Hong Kong Case Study by Alan Urmston, Felicia Fang on 04/06/2008 at 30th Language Testing Research Colloquium, Hangzhou, China

The Effects of having an English Language Exit Test on Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Tertiary Level in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston on 01/06/2008 at International Conference on Language Issues in English-medium Universities, University of Hong Kong

A Discourse-analytical Approach to the Validation of the Revised LPATE Speaking Test by Alan Urmston, Felicia Fang on 06/11/2007 at International Conference on Language Testing, Beijing, China

The LPATE: Revising a High Stakes Assessment by Alan Urmston, Mark Knight on 01/06/2007 at 29th Language Testing Research Colloquium, Barcelona, Spain

Relaunching the Graduating Students’ Language Proficiency Assessment in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston, Mark Knight on 01/06/2006 at 28th Language Testing Research Colloquium, Melbourne, Australia

The LPATE Writing Test: An Innovative Test of Teachers’ Essential Knowledge or an Unnecessary Hurdle? by Alan Urmston on 18/12/2004 at 18th International Language in Education Conference, Hong Kong Institute of Education

Do they do what they say they do? Comparisons between Assessor Feedback and Candidates' Performance in a High-stakes English Speaking Test by Alan Urmston on 10/09/2003 at 6th International Conference on English Language Testing in Asia, Seoul, Korea

The Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston on 01/12/2002 at 24th Language Testing Research Colloquium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Modeling Teacher Change in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston on 01/04/2002 at Annual Conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Changes in English Teaching in Hong Kong by Alan Urmston on 01/03/2001 at 35th Annual Convention and Exposition of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, St Louis, MO, USA

English Teaching in Hong Kong after the Transition by Alan Urmston on 01/03/1999 at 33rd Annual Convention and Exposition of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, New York, NY, USA

Learning to Teach English in Hong Kong: The Opinions of Teachers in Training by Alan Urmston on 01/02/1999 at International Conference on Teacher Education, Hong Kong Institute of Education

Projects:

Completed Projects

A Project to Investigate Preliminary Claims of Linkage of the GSLPA (English) with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Show details

Further development of the Diagnostic English Tracking Assessment (DELTA): A Web-based English Language Diagnostic Assessment and Tracking System for University Students in Hong Kong Show details

A Project to Investigate the Development of a Web-Based English Language Diagnostic / Placement Assessment for Undergraduate Students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University under the Four-Year Curriculum. Funded by Dean’s Reserve (HK$132,000), September 2009 – May 2011. Show details

Professional Interests:
Second language assessment
Language education and societal change
Second language teacher education