SLS alum Dr. Daniel R. Isbell wins the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award

Second Language Studies alum, and current Assistant Professor in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Dr. Daniel R. Isbell, has won the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award for his PhD dissertation “Diagnosing Second Language Pronunciation”.

“Being awarded the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award is extremely – if you will kindly excuse the language testing pun – validating. My dissertation topic involved going out on something of a limb, and carrying out the work itself was exhausting at times. So having my work recognized by Educational Testing Service is fantastic.”

Dr. Isbell, Award Recipient

Dr. Isbell’s dissertation spanned the development and validation of a pronunciation diagnostic test for second language learners of Korean. He administered the test to 198 Korean learners in Seoul, South Korea, which he was able to do thanks to a Fulbright U.S. Student award. He also had the learners complete an oral proficiency test, extended speaking task, self-assessments, and questionnaires, and was able to get a group of 14 learners to sit down for interviews and try the test again after about 3 months.

Dr. Isbell further commented on the support he received from the Second Language Studies program:

“Making this dissertation happen required a lot of moving parts lining up. Fortunately, MSU and the SLS program supported me every step of the way. Prior to the dissertation, I had ample opportunities to develop my research skills and develop knowledge in several areas that I would eventually link up in the dissertation. Dr. Winke, my supervisor, gave me a great deal of support, guidance, and latitude to develop my ideas. I’m also glad that I had opportunities to develop my Korean skills and do research involving Korean learners prior to the dissertation – I’m very grateful to Dr. Ok-Sook Park, who leads the Korean program at MSU.”

Dr. Isbell, Award Recipient

The Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award recognizes doctoral dissertation research that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge about second or foreign-language tests and testing and/or the use and development of such tests and testing. The award includes a $2,500 prize, as well as a round trip and accommodations to the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), where the award is presented. To be considered for the award, the candidate’s institution must have accepted their dissertation within 3 years before the date of the award application, the work must have been completed as part of a doctoral program, and the research may be related to second- or foreign-language testing of any language. More information about eligibility for the award, and the application process, can be found here.