job posting: Research Scientist English Language Learning and Assessment (ELLA) Center

Job Description:


The English Language Learning and Assessment (ELLA) Center has an opening for a Research Scientist. This research center conducts validation research on assessments for English learners in the U.S. and abroad, aims to advance foundational knowledge and improve practices in assessing English language proficiency in academia and the workplace, and develops knowledge and capabilities to support new assessments and learning tools for English learners.

The center also provides research support for all English language assessments including the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) families.


  • Take responsibility for conceptualizing, proposing, obtaining funding for, and directing moderately sized projects and/or assisting in major ones in the areas of English language learning and assessment. Projects may include (1) research projects, (2) development projects that use scientific principles to create (a) tools to improve the efficiency or quality of the practice of test development or statistical analysis; (b) innovative item types; or (c) the scoring of responses to open-ended items, and (3) development projects that use scientific principles to create new products or product prototypes. Small research and development projects typically have minimal budgets, few or no staff other than the project director, a timeline or a year or less, and a single deliverable that is relatively narrow in scope.  Major projects have substantial budgets, involve the coordination of many individuals internal and possibly external to ETS, may run across years, and may produce multiple deliverables.  Moderate projects fall in between these two types.
  • Be a key collaborator in generating or contributing to new knowledge or capability in the field of English language learning and assessment, and in applying that new knowledge and capability to existing and/or new ETS products and services.  New knowledge may take the form of new or modified educational or psychological theories; new research methodology; new development methodology; new statistical, analytic or interpretative procedures; new test designs and item types; new approaches to scoring examinee responses; and new approaches to reporting.  New capabilities include developing software to instantiate new and existing knowledge.
  • Document and disseminate the results of research and/or development projects through publications and presentations.  Publication includes peer-reviewed journals, peer- reviewed conference proceedings, patents, books and book chapters, and other print media.  Presentation may be at international, national, or regional conferences, client meetings, and ETS seminars.
  • Participate in setting substantive research and development goals and priorities.
  • Actively seek input from peers on the quality of one’s work. Actively seek opportunities to provide constructive criticism to peers so as to improve the quality of their work.  Conduct journal and conference proposal reviews. Be a reviewer for the ETS RR series and provide thorough, responsive reviews.
  • Actively seek mentoring from more senior scientific and other R&D staff, developing a continuing mentoring relationship.  Act as a mentor to research support staff and/or junior scientists, developing a continuing mentoring relationship.
  • Develop proposals and budgets for moderately sized projects and/or assist in development for major ones.  Actively seek and obtain financial support.
  • Consult on testing program, R&D management, or other ETS management concerns.
  • Manage moderately sized projects, and/or assist in the management of major ones, involving staff assignment and scheduling, budgeting, acquisition and utilization of equipment and interaction with other areas of R&D.
  • Develop external professional relationships and work to refine the scientist’s identity.  Play an active role in activities sponsored by one or more organizations substantively related to the work of ETS (e.g., not only as member and regular presenter, but also serving as a committee member).

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with teams in Research, Assessment Development, Statistical Analysis, and New Product Development to design, prototype, and evaluate instructional and assessment materials that meet the needs of international English language learners, teachers, and systems of education.
  • Interact with international and domestic clients to determine their needs, design solutions, and deliver effective products and services.
  • Evaluate products and services related to English language education in the global and domestic market.
  • Advise on best practices and identify opportunities for innovation in international English language education, especially in relation to technology-mediated teaching, learning, and assessment.
  • Support research and development efforts related to ETS’ English language assessments and related products and services.

Experience and Skills


A Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Applied Linguistics, Language Education (TESOL), Second Language Acquisition, or similar is required.


Three years of progressively independent research and/or development experience in English language curriculum and materials development and evaluation, pedagogic and assessment task design, language teacher development, and/or language test design is required.

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of Women and Minorities. 

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. 

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is a Drug-free workplace.

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