Professor John Read

MA(Hons) (Victoria), PhD (New Mexico)


John Read retired from his fulltime position at the end of 2018 and is continuing on a part-time contract in 2019.

He joined the then Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics in July 2005 and was Head of Department from 2007 to 2010. He previously taught applied linguistics, TESOL and EAP at Victoria University of Wellington, the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre in Singapore, the University of Texas El Paso, and Indiana University.

His main area of specialisation is language testing and assessment, with a particular focus on vocabulary assessment and the testing of English for academic and professional purposes. He has been extensively involved with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a researcher, consultant and test administrator, and has directed three IELTS-funded research projects on various aspects of the test He has been a consultant to Aviation Services Ltd and Air New Zealand on the design of English language assessments for pilots and air traffic controllers. At the University of Auckland, he was until recently Academic Coordinator of the Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA), which assesses the academic language needs of students entering the university.

In 2011-12, John was President of the International Language Testing Association (ILTA), having previously served as Vice-President (2009-10) and a member of the Executive Board (1992-93, 2000-01). He was co-editor of the international research journal Language Testing from 2002 to 2006. More recently he completed a four-year term as a member of the Committee of Examiners for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (2011-15). He was Chair of the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), which was held in Auckland in July 2018.

John’s doctoral research was a study of language maintenance on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, USA and its implications for bilingual education. He has continuing interests in language maintenance and shift, language policy in education and other ways in which the social context influences language learning.

Research | Current

  • Second language vocabulary acquisition and assessment
  • Testing English for academic and professional purposes
  • Diagnostic language assessment
  • Development of academic literacy
  • The design of tasks for the assessment of academic vocabulary knowledge and use

Teaching | Current

LANGTCHG 765 Language Testing and Assessment

Postgraduate supervision

Current Doctoral Students

Maria Treadaway (2018 - ): Developing and validating a diagnostic listening and speaking test for ab initio cadet pilots (Main supervisor)

Mandana Hazrat (2016 - ): The Involvement Load Hypothesis and its impact on vocabulary learning (Main supervisor)

Miyoung Song (2016 - ): Effects of extensive reading on second language learners' vocabulary acquisition (Main supervisor)

Priscilla Shak Yee Ping (2015 - ): Developing a framework for effective group assessment in the ESP classroom (Main supervisor)

Di Wang (2014 - ): Formation of Chinese language teachers' identity (Second supervisor)

Morena Dias Botelho de Magalhaes (2013 - ): Doctoral students' experiences in meeting the language demands of English-medium study (Main supervisor)


Recently Completed Doctoral Students

Xiaohua Liu (2018): Towards a diagnostic assessment of EAP reading  (Main)

Aziz Khan (2016). A narrative ethnography of primary school teachers' perceptions, preferences and practices in rural Pakistan (Second)

Scott Aubrey (2015): Effect of inter-cultural contact on L2 motivation and L2 learning: A process-product study (Second)

Xiaoying Wang (2014): Investigating assessment practices in three EFL oral language classrooms in China(Second)

Colleen Bright (2012): The role of academic writing in the study experience of undergraduate business students (Main)

Ian Wilson (2012): Academic literacy and self-efficacy in adult students preparing for tertiary study (Joint)

Rachel Lee (2012):  Writing as a literacy development for low achievers: The case of a neighbourhood school in Singapore (Main)

Dawn Booth (2012): Exploring the washback of the TOEIC in South Korea : a sociocultural perspective on student test activity (Second)

Dana Gablasova (2012): Learning and expressing technical vocabulary through the medium of L1 and L2 by Slovak-English bilingual high-school students (Main)

Jeannet Stephen (2012): English loan words in the Malay print media and their implications for English vocabulary acquisition (Main)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Read, J. (Ed.) (2016). Post-admission Language Assessment of University Students. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2
  • Read, J (2015). Issues in post-entry language assessment in English-medium universities. Language Teaching, 48 (2), 217-234. 10.1017/S0261444813000190
  • Read, J. (2015). Assessing English proficiency for university study. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages: 272. Related URL.
  • Read, J., & von Randow, J. (2013). A university post-entry English language assessment: Charting the changes. International Journal of English Studies, 13 (2), 89-110. Related URL.
  • Read, J. A. (2013). Second language vocabulary assessment. Language Teaching, 46 (1), 41-52. 10.1017/S0261444812000377
  • Read, J. (2012). Piloting vocabulary tests. In G. Fulcher, F. Davidson (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing (pp. 307-320). London: Routledge.
  • Read, J. (2000). Assessing Vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages: 279.

Contact details

Office hours

Appointments by email

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 206
New Zealand