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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Areas of Interest: 
Technology-mediated language assessment and learning


I am Head of Propositions Research in the English Research Group of Cambridge University Press & Assessment. Before joining Cambridge in 2015, I had worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the Oral English Certification Test at Iowa State University and as a summer research intern at Educational Testing Service (ETS), USA. I received my Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Technology from Iowa State University, where I studied language assessment, statistics, and quantitative psychology. I also hold an M.A. in English from the University of Toledo, with a focus on computer-assisted language learning. Currently, I serve on the Editorial Board of the Language Assessment Quarterly journal. I love playing basketball in my leisure time and am the Treasurer of the Cambourne Raptors Basketball Club.


My current research focuses on the development and validation of technology-enhanced language assessments such as Linguaskill, an AI-powered online English proficiency test. My research interests include second language assessment, automated scoring and feedback, computer-assisted language learning, validity theory, and second language acquisition. Below are some of my recent presentations at academic conferences in Applied Linguistics.

Xu, J. (2022, June). Some issues in automated scoring of language performance tests: Methodologies, practices, and ethics. Keynote speech for the BAAL TEASIG 2022 conference, London, UK.

Xu, J., Jones, E., Laxton, V., & Galaczi, E. (2022, March). Assessing L2 English speaking using automated scoring technology: Examining automarker reliability. Paper presented at the 43rd Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), Tokyo, Japan.

Xu, J., Jones, E., Laxton, V., & Galaczi, E. (2021, November). Investigating automarker reliability in the assessment of L2 English speaking. Paper presented at the Language Testing Forum (LTF) 2021.

Xu., J. (2021, August). Exploring the order of acquisition of lexical collocations among Chinese learners of English. Paper presented at the Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) 2021 Virtual Conference.

Xu, J., & Pinnington, A. (2021, June). Assessing mediation skills using computer-based speaking tasks. Paper presented at the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) 2021 Virtual Conference.

Xu, J., & Pinnington, A. (2021, April). Integrating mediation skills into a computer-based speaking test. Paper presented at the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) International Digital Symposium.


Key publications: 

Yu, G. & Xu, J. (Eds.). (forthcoming). Test validation in a digital age. Cambridge University Press.

Xu, J., Jones, E., Laxton, V., & Galaczi, E. (2021). Assessing L2 English speaking using automated scoring technology: examining automarker reliability. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 28(4), 411-436.

Khabbazbashi, N., Xu, J., & Galaczi, E. (2021). Opening the black box: Exploring automated speaking assessment. In Lanteigne, B., Coombe, C. & Brown, J. D. (Eds), Challenges in language testing around the world (pp. 333-343). Springer.

Xu, J. (2018). Measuring ‘Spoken Collocational Competence’ in communicative speaking assessment. Language Assessment Quarterly, 15(3), 255-272.

Xu, J. (2015). Predicting ESL learners’ oral proficiency by measuring the collocations in their spontaneous speech [Doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University]. Iowa State University Digital Repository.

Xu, J. (2010). Using multimedia vocabulary annotations in L2 reading and listening activities. CALICO Journal, 27(2), 311-327.

Chapelle, C. A., Chung, Y.-R., Hegelheimer, V., Pendar, N., & Xu, J. (2010). Towards a computer-delivered test of productive grammatical ability. Language Testing, 27(4), 443-469.

Other publications: 

Xu, J., Brenchley, M., Jones, E., Pinnington, A., Benjamin, T., Knill, K., Seal-Coon, G., Robinson, M., & Geranpayeh, A. (2020). Linguaskill: Building a validity argument for the speaking test. Cambridge Assessment English.

Xu, J. (2015). Annotating abstract vocabulary using multimedia. In V. Turel (Ed.), Intelligent design of interactive multimedia listening software (pp. 27-46). IGI Global.

Chapelle, C. A., Chung, Y.-R., & Xu, J. (Eds.). (2008). Towards adaptive CALL: Natural language processing for diagnostic language assessment. Iowa State University.

Mislevy, R., Chapelle, C. A., Chung, Y.-R., & Xu, J. (2008). Options for adaptivity in computer-assisted language learning and assessment. In C. A. Chapelle, Y.-R. Chung, & J. Xu (Eds.), Towards adaptive CALL: Natural language processing for diagnostic language assessment (pp. 9-24). Iowa State University.

Teaching and Supervisions

  • Tutor, MSt in English Language Assessment, University of Cambridge
  • Guest lecturer, ALTE summer language testing course on ‘Assessing writing in the digital age’ (with Dr Sathena Chan)
  • Guest lecturer, ALTE summer language testing course on ‘Technology in language test production and validation’ (coordinated by Professor Stephen Bax)
Head of Propositions Research
Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Departments and institutes: 

Contact Details

The Triangle Building, Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge, UK
Email address: 



What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.