The key speakers for New Directions 2021 include key thought leaders, policy makers, educational experts and tertiary education institute leaders in the field of English Language Assessment.

Professor Barry O’Sullivan is the Head of Assessment Research & Development at the British Council where he was responsible for the design and development of the Aptis

Professor Barry O’Sullivan OBE

Plenary speaker - Head of Assessment Research & Development , British Council

He has undertaken research across many areas of language testing and assessment and has worked on the development and refinement of the socio-cognitive model of test development and validation since 2000. He regularly speaks at international conferences and has over 100 publications. He is the founding president of the UK Association of Language Testing and Assessment.

Keynote Abstract: The Annual New Directions Weir Lecture: Professionalising Learning Systems

Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Director, Language Assessment and Associate Professor

Beverly Baker

Plenary speaker - Associate Professor and Director of Language Assessment at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, Canada

Her research and publications focus on language teaching and assessment from the perspective of multiple stakeholders. She has worked with more than 1500 language teachers worldwide on workshops and collaborative projects. She is currently Treasurer of the International Language Testing Association. In 2019 she was awarded the British Council’s International Assessment Award. 

Plenary Abstract: Unpacking the concept of language assessment literacy for all key stakeholders


Fumiyo joined CRELLA in 2009. She holds a PhD in Language Testing, an MA in Applied Linguistics and a Postgraduate Diploma in TEFL from the University of Essex

Fumiyo Nakatsuhara

Plenary speaker - Reader in Language Assessment at the Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment , University of Bedfordshire, UK

Her main research interests lie in the nature of co-constructed interaction in speaking tests, task design, rating scale development, and the relationship between listening and speaking skills. She has led a number of international testing projects, working with ministries, universities, and examination boards. 

Plenary Abstract: Developing a localised semi-direct speaking test for young learners in Uruguay: challenges and innovations

Gabriela Kaplan has worked in teacher education for more than 20 years

Gabriela Kaplan

Plenary speaker - General Coordinator of the Ceibal en Inglés programme at Plan Ceibal , Uruguay

has worked in teacher education for more than 20 years, especially in the fields of literature and culture of English-speaking countries and is passionate about public education. She co-designed the programme Ceibal en Inglés when she worked at Políticas Lingüísticas at the National Board of Education (ANEP) in Uruguay.   

Plenary Abstract: Developing a localised semi-direct speaking test for young learners in Uruguay: challenges and innovations


Neus Figueras

Workshop Presenter - MA tutor - University of Barcelona/ Former coordinator of the Exams and Curriculum Unit , Catalan Ministry of Education, Spain

She has been involved in a big number of international research and development projects related to assessment in Europe, Asia and the USA. Teacher of the University of Barcelona MA for over 10 years. She collaborates in the dissemination of the CEFR in testing and assessment and is one of the authors of the Manual for Relating examinations to the CEFR (Council of Europe, 2009). She is a founding member of EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment). 

Philip Horne

Workshop Presenter - Test Quality Assurance Manager, British Council Global Assessments

Philip is Test Quality Assurance Manager at for British Council Global Assessments, where he manages item development and trains the global pool of item writers. He has a Cambridge diploma in English teaching and an MA in Language Testing from Lancaster University. His thesis was on rater interpretation of pronunciation descriptors in holistic rating scales. He is currently pursuing a PhD (also in the field of testing), focusing on pragmatics and computer-based tests.

Dylan Burton

Workshop Presenter - PhD Candidate at Michigan State University, USA

is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University in the Second Language Studies program. He is currently acting as Editorial Assistant for the journal Language Testing with co-editors Luke Harding and Paula Winke. Dylan’s research interests include the development and validation of speaking tests, rater cognition, and non-verbal behavior. He has published in Language Testing, Language Assessment Quarterly, System, and the Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Language Testing.

Christopher Redmond

Workshop Presenter - Assessment Solutions Consultant, East Asia Assessment Solutions Team , British Council

Working closely with teachers, Christopher has developed and delivered numerous teacher-training workshops on the subject of language assessment. Moreover, he has taught in public and private institutions in Ireland, South Korea and Mainland China, and has also delivered presentations and workshops in Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia and Japan. He received an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester and has written articles for publications such as Modern English Teacher.

Olena Rossi

Workshop Presenter - PhD student / Associate Lecturer , University of Lancaster

Olena Rossi is a doctoral student at Lancaster University, UK, focused in language testing. She has an MA in Language Testing, and her main research interests are item-writing, item-writer training, and assessment literacy for test stakeholders. Her PhD research study investigates item-writer training with the aim of proposing a framework of item-writing skills development. Prior to starting her PhD studies, Olena worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer in Ukraine, Malaysia, and China.

Oscar Soler-Canela

Workshop Presenter - Officer at the Test Validation Unit/Teacher, Instituto Cervantes, Spain

He holds an MA in Language Teaching from Lancaster University, with a focus in language testing and relating examinations to the CEFR. He has been a teacher of Spanish as a Foreign Language for more than 20 years and has taught SFL in Tunisia, UK, USA and Egypt. He currently works in the design, development and validation of the official DELE examinations and has been involved in the development of the SICELE (International System of Certification of Spanish as a Foreign Language).