Emeritus Professor John Read

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


John Read retired from his fulltime position at the end of 2018 and is now Professor Emeritus.

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 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

Postgraduate supervision

Current Doctoral Student

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


Recently Completed Doctoral Theses

Miyoung Song (2020):  The effects of extensive reading on vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension and the mediating effects of working memory and motivation   (Main)

Mandana Hazrat (2020): The Involvement Load Hypothesis and its impact on vocabulary learning (Main)

Di Wang (2020): A Dynamic Systems Theory perspective on pre-service Chinese language teachers’ professional identity (Second)

Priscilla Shak Yee Ping (2019): Developing a framework for effective group assessment in the ESP classroom (Main)

Morena Dias Botelho de Magalhaes (2019): Narratives of language learning and identity in first-year EAL doctoral candidates' trajectories (Main)

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


Completed Masters Thesis

Kimberley Rothville (2019):  Extensive reading in Japanese : investigating the effects on vocabulary, reading comprehension, coursework and attitudes towards reading in Japanese and kanji over 27 weeks for upper beginner-level learners


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Liu, X., & Read, J. A. (2020). General skill needs and challenges in university academic reading: Voices from undergraduates and language teachers. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 50 (2), 70-93. 10.1080/10790195.2020.1734885
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51327
  • Read, J. A. (2019). Key issues in measuring vocabulary knowledge. In S. Webb (Ed.) The Routledge handbook of vocabulary studies (pp. 545-560). Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge. Related URL.
  • Read, J. A. (2019). Postentry English language assessment in universities. In X. Gao (Ed.) Second handbook of English language teaching (pp. 395-414). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 10.1007/978-3-030-02899-2_26
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51442
  • Read, J. (Ed.) (2016). Post-admission Language Assessment of University Students. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30844
  • Read, J. (2015). Assessing English proficiency for university study. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages: 272.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31510
  • Read, J. (2000). Assessing Vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages: 279.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 517
New Zealand

Web links