A broad and interdisciplinary focus on the English language, uniting academic research and the professional goals of Cambridge English Language Assessment and Cambridge University Press
Expertise in the English language, from across the University, represents a major asset for Cambridge.
Cambridge English is used by Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment to refer to their work in developing materials for English language learning, teaching and assessment, and to their associated research programmes into the outcomes of learning.
As two outward-facing departments within the University, both play a key role in representing the University of Cambridge around the world and in promoting its educational values. For example, Cambridge English Language Assessment (part of the Local Examinations Syndicate also known as Cambridge Assessment) develops and administers English language examinations to over 3.5 million learners each year, and is the world’s leading agency for English language assessment with a presence in over 130 countries.
In recent years, a number of interdisciplinary research projects have been set up involving Cambridge English Language Assessment, Cambridge University Press and other University departments, including the Department for Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (DTAL), the Faculty of Education, the Computer Laboratory and the Speech Group within the Engineering Department.
One area of collaboration which is already well underway is the English Profile Programme, in which researchers in Cambridge, including members of DTAL and the Computer Laboratory, have been analysing data from learners of English to understand their progression across levels of proficiency.
Following on from the English Profile programme, it was announced in April 2013 that Cambridge English Language Assessment will fund a new institute to undertake research on Automated Language Teaching and Assessment (ALTA). The institute will be administered by the Computer Laboratory but includes principal investigators from the Department of Engineering and the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. The remit of the institute is to conduct research in computer systems and platforms, corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, speech processing and machine learning.
Cambridge English is at the foreground in the development and analysis of learner corpora and other forms of learner data, and corpus research underpins the development of a range of materials for English language teaching and assessment. The Cambridge English Corpus, a database of several billion words, contains written and spoken English from a wide range of sources, and also includes The Cambridge Learner Corpus, a unique collection of error-coded exam scripts written by students taking Cambridge exams all over the world.
Other research interests
Cambridge English also encompasses:
- the use of technology in English language education, including learning-oriented assessment (LOA)
- research in second language acquisition, experimental psychology and education where these inform the learning and teaching of English
- the development of materials for English Language Teaching and teacher training.