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Selected Development Project
Project Title

A Decade on from the Inception of LPATE in 2001: Can We Determine Whether Teacher English Language Standards have Improved?

Principal Investigator Professor David CONIAM
Area of Research Project
Educational Leadership, Policy and Administration
Project Period
From 01/2015 To 12/2016
  1. To investigate, quantitatively, perceptions of the extent to which English teachers’ English language standards may have improved since the introduction of the LPATE in 2000
  2. To investigate, qualitatively, the perceptions of relevant stakeholders – experienced English language teachers, English panel chairs, and school principals – of the effects of the LPATE policy
Methods Used

English language teachers, panel chairs and principals in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools participated in the current study.
First, relevant stake-holders as mentioned above were invited to answer a questionnaire regarding their perceptions of the LPATE assessment. Then, 24 selected participated were invited to an in-depth semi-structured interviews.

Both quantitative data and qualitative data were analyzed to identify the perceptions of the effects of the LPATE policy.
Summary of Findings
  1. The introduction of the LPATE shows that English language teaching is a profession which expects subject training and professional training.
  2. The teachers’ language standard matters, but various other factors such as pedagogical skills and personality are important to language teaching.
  3. English language teacher proficiency in Hong Kong has risen since the introduction of the LPATE and further improvement is still need through more exposure to English.
  4. The LPATE is limited in its nature as a test; the LPATE exemption makes the LPATE less relevant nowadays.

The LPATE policy has generally had a positive impact on Hong Kong English teachers’ language standard. Consideration needs, however, to be given to how the current relevance of the LPATE might be increased.

Selected Output

In preparation and under submission

  1. Coniam, David, Falvey, Peter & Xiao, Yangyu. 2017. An investigation of the impact on Hong Kong’s English language teaching profession of the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English (LPATE). RELC Journal, 48(1): 115-133.
  2. Coniam, D. & Falvey, P. (eds.) in press. Evaluating a high-stakes minimum standards language test for teachers. Springer: Dordrecht.
Biography of Principal Investigator

David Coniam is Chair Professor and Head of Department of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Faculty of Education and Human Development at The Education University of Hong Kong, where he is a teacher educator, working with teachers in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools. David joined the EdUHK in 2012 from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he spent over 20 years in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. His main publication and research interests are in language assessment, language teaching methodology and computer assisted language learning. He led the team which developed the Language Proficiency Assessment of Teachers (English). Recently, he led research into the comparability and acceptance of onscreen marking with the HKEAA.

Funding Source

General Research Fund