Pearson 2017 Research Call

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Pearson 2017 Research Call is now open and available at

The purpose of the call is to contribute to the validation of the Global Scale of English (GSE) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

The deadline for submitting proposals is 30th January 2018. 


2017 Research call


This Research Call is published by the Global Scale of English unit of Pearson English, a division of Pearson plc. One of our driving goals is to ensure that our teaching and testing materials comply with the highest standards and quality. At Pearson, research is carried out as part of our on-going validation programme, with the aim of obtaining independent assessment of our products by experts in the areas of language testing, second/foreign language education, linguistics, applied linguistics, and other related fields. The purpose of the 2017 Research Call is to contribute to the validation of the Global Scale of English (GSE - a Pearson metric of English language proficiency, aligned to the CEFR) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

Who can apply 
We invite faculty members, doctoral students and qualified freelance researchers to submit proposals of relevance to the research areas outlined below.

Research areas 
The purpose of the call is to promote independent research on the following topics: 

1. Content validity

Proposals investigating the correspondence between the test content and the inferenced Target Language Use (TLU) domains and/or the appropriateness of different item types to elicit test-takers’ skills in the inferred domain

2. Automated assessment of speaking and writing

Proposals investigating any aspect related to the automated assessment of spoken and written skills 

3. Washback and impact studies

Proposals focusing on test preparation and test user/stakeholder perceptions are particularly welcome

4. Contexts of test use

Proposals investigating whether the test is fit-for-purpose in different contexts of use, e.g., for migration, university entrance, profession, and citizenship

5. Concordance studies

Proposals carried out as part of institutional test use or benchmarking activities with the purpose to investigate the extent to which Pearson assessment relates to a criterion-related measure


Data, funding, and duration of projects

Pearson will provide researchers with PTE Academic test data (e.g., test taker responses, demographic data, scores) or test vouchers. 

Available funding is £2,000 for small-scale projects, up to £5,000 for medium-scale projects, and up to £10,000 for large-scale projects. We will consider funding requests above £10,000 on a case-by-case basis. 

The maximum duration of projects is 1 year.

How to apply

Applicants are requested to send their curriculum vitae and a well-structured research proposal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for receipt of applications is 30th January 2018. The proposal should clearly indicate:

Title of research proposal

Name/s of researcher/s

Research goal

Theoretical background

Required data and sample size

Methodology and instruments

Anticipated outcomes

Contribution to the field of second/foreign language testing

Project schedule and timeline

Required budget

(Please provide a detailed cost breakdown: e.g., institutional overhead, travel expenses, researchers' time, printing materials, student incentives, and anything which is needed to successfully complete the project). 

Please note the desirable length of the proposal is of 5-10 pages.

For any additional queries regarding the application process, please contact us at the above email address before submission.

Vetting process

Each proposal will be rated internally according to the following criteria: 
Match with the Research Call

Sound theoretical foundation

Clear methodology

Feasibility of the research, given the budget and timeline

Contribution to the validation of the Global Scale of English and the Pearson Test of English Academic

Compliance with data protection & ethics standards 

The shortlisted applicants will be notified and may be contacted to provide further details about their proposal. Applicants will be notified if there are any delays to the timetable for the vetting process.

Notification to Applicants

Pearson will notify all applicants - successful and unsuccessful - by the 15th April 2018.

Accepted Proposals

Following the signature of an agreement between the researcher/s and Pearson, the researcher will commit to send Pearson regular reports on the project and to submit a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal at the end of the project.


30 January 2018: Last date for receipt of all applications February-March 2018: Vetting and selection 15 April 2018: Notification of acceptance or non-acceptance to all applicants 


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