Xiaowan Zhang

The Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program likes to spotlight the current work of people in the Program and what brought them to that line of work. Today we feature SLS Graduate student Xiaowan Zhang!

Hi! I am Xiaowan Zhang and am a PhD candidate in the Second Language Studies (SLS) program at Michigan State University (MSU). I received my master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013, where I served in numerous capacities, including as a research assistant for an in-house English Placement Test, as the program coordinator for the Academic Conversation Skills Workshop Series, as a teacher for an ESL course for visiting scholars and students, and the librarian for the TESOL library. Before coming to the US, I worked as an English teacher at the Web International English School, where I taught English writing and speaking skills to K-12 students.     

While at MSU, I taught three TESOL courses to undergraduate preservice teachers, including Second Language Learning (LLT 361), Pedagogical Grammar (LLT 346), and Teaching Methods (LLT 307). I was also a research assistant to Dr. Paula Winke, who is my advisor and the chair of my dissertation committee (Drs. Katherine Strunk, Koen Van Gorp, and Shawn Loewen). Last summer, I worked as an intern at Michigan Language Assessment (MLA), where I developed a toolkit for investigating the use and impact of MLA’s test products. Currently, I am working at the English Language Center’s Testing Office, where I am responsible for developing, administering, and proctoring English tests.    

My primary research interests are in (a) second language development (including factors that may affect second language developmental trajectories) and (b) second language testing and assessment. Within the first area, second language development, I have investigated how second language proficiency develops in young and adult learners using various longitudinal methods (e.g., ethnographic case-study approach, latent growth curve modeling, multilevel modeling, and survival analysis). Within the second area, second language testing, I aim to promote valid and reliable L1 and L2 assessments that are suitable for adult and young learners’ cognitive, affective, and linguistic development. I have presented my research at over 20 international and US national and local conferences. In addition, I have published three research papers, with a couple of manuscripts currently under review. 

If you want to learn more about my teaching, research, and other professional experiences , please feel free to visit my website: http://zhang874.msu.domains