Assessing English for Professional Purposes  book cover
1st Edition

Assessing English for Professional Purposes

ISBN 9781032338019
Published June 14, 2022 by Routledge
228 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

** WINNER OF ILTA/SAGE Best Book Award 2020 **

Assessing English for Professional Purposes provides a state-of-the-art account of the various kinds of language assessments used to determine people’s abilities to function linguistically in the workplace. At a time when professional expertise is increasingly mobile and diverse, with highly trained professionals migrating across national boundaries to apply their skills in English-speaking settings, this book offers a renewed agenda for inquiry into language assessments for professional purposes (LAPP). Many of these experts work in high-risk environments where communication breakdowns can have serious consequences. This risk has been identified by governments and professional bodies, who implement language tests for gate-keeping purposes. Through a sociological lens of risk and responsibility, this book:

  • provides a detailed overview of both foundational and recent literature in the field;
  • offers conceptual tools for specific purpose assessment, including a socially oriented theory of construct;
  • develops theory and practice in key areas, such as needs analysis, test development, validation and policy;
  • significantly broadens the scope of the assessment of English for professional purposes to include a range of assessment practices for both professionals and laypeople in professional settings.

Assessing English for Professional Purposes is key reading for researchers, graduate students and practitioners working in the area of English for Specific Purposes assessment.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Scope

Chapter 2 – Construct

Chapter 3 – Needs

Chapter 4 – Development

Chapter 5 – Validity

Chapter 6 – Policy




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Ute Knoch is an Associate Professor in Language Testing at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Susy Macqueen is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Australian National University.


"In what I believe is the first major book devoted to the assessment of languages for specific purposes in nearly twenty years, Ute Knoch and Susy Macqueen have added depth and detail to fundamental concepts, including the scope of the specific purpose language enterprise, the analysis of needs, aspects of test development explicitly unique to specific purposes, the validity of scores in relation to the target domain and uses, and language-associated assessment policies. Their discussion of "Codes of Relevance" in language assessment for professional purposes is particularly enlightening, moving from very specific professional registers to Lingua Franca and standard varieties, related to the density of specialist knowledge required for communication. Throughout the book, Knoch and Macqueen conceptualize language assessments for professional purposes as tools for risk management: risks to test takers, to fellow professionals, to clients and consumers, and to society more generally. This book will be welcomed by researchers and practitioners in specific purpose language programs, assessment specialists for both specific and more general language use, and in post-graduate programs in applied linguistics and language teaching."

Dan Douglas, Iowa State University, USA