ReviewsThis book further establishes the recent history of English language assessment as an exceptionally well-researched area in the developing field of applied linguistic historiography. Weir and O'Sullivan have marshalled a wealth of primary sources in expert fashion, and their account provides a detailed demonstration of the innovative role the British Council has played in this area in the past and is playing now again.
Dr Richard Smith, Warwick University
The book provides a valuable historical account of the prominent role played by the British Council in the development of language testing in the United Kingdom over the last seventy-five years. The argument is supported by an impressive array of oral and written contributions from many of the key players that appear in the history and by a thorough review of the evidence available from governmental and institutional archives. The book should inspire other examination boards and test developers around the world to write their own histories and provides an important point of reference for this.
Professor Yan Jin, Director, National College English Testing Committee of China
Based on in-depth interviews, extensive document analysis and insider perspectives, this volume is a must for any language tester's professional library.
Christine Coombe, TESOL President (2010-2013)
The book provides a valuable evidence-based account of the development of English language testing in the UK over the past 75 years as viewed through the lens of the varying roles the British Council played in assessing English on the global stage in that period. The reader is taken on an intriguing journey through the personnel, policies, strategies, social contexts, testing theories, and validation models that have shaped the British Council’s contribution to English language testing. Thanks to books such as this, other language testing organizations around the world can appreciate the value of learning from the past and might be inspired to innovate for the future.
Dr Jessica R W Wu, R&D Program Director
Language Training & Testing Center, Taiwan
Language testing professionals, in the UK especially, are steeped in historiographical publications that acknowledge the leadership and achievements of our predecessors. This current volume by Weir and O’Sullivan makes a significant contribution to that tradition. It offers an insightful account of the British Council’s longstanding, global engagement in English language testing. Also the enquiry into the problems, politics, and solutions devised for creating, spreading, and maintaining the British Council testing programs offers lessons for modern-day practices.
Professor Micheline Chaloub-Deville, Professor, Educational Research Methodology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. President-Elect International Language Testing Association (ILTA).