Monday 22 October 2018 to Tuesday 23 October 2018
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

New Directions is a series of expert-led regional events in East Asia that brings international and national perspectives on trends and approaches in English language assessment linked to teaching and learning. It is an annual conference organised by the British Council. This year, we aim to:

  • Share approaches and solutions to language assessment challenges in the region and internationally.
  • Provide a unique platform to open the communication circle between language assessment academics, policy makers and practitioners.
  • Connect local, national, regional and global agendas in language assessment.
  • Provide a global network for policy makers and practitioners working in the field of English Language Assessment.
  • Support evidence-led decisions deriving from research.
  • Support global thought leadership in assessment.

New Directions 2018 is a space where policy makers, educational professionals and academics can interact, exchange information, and keep abreast of leading developments in the field of English language teaching, learning, and assessment.

Conference Theme

The design, use, and implementation of language standards and proficiency frameworks in language testing and assessment, and the link between standards, assessment and the wider educational context, such as curriculum design. 


  • The alignment of existing tests to proficiency standards and the use of standards to inform the design and validation of new tests
  • The manner in which standards can inform classroom teaching and assessment
  • The impact of using standards to inform policy decisions and set assessment goals, either at a national or institutional level, on teaching and learning.
  • The localisation of standards and proficiency frameworks: adapting large-scale national or international standards to a more fine-grained focus on local needs. 
  • The relationship between the rapid development of artificial intelligence and automated rating technology and assessments designed from and aligned to existing proficiency standards.

Key Speakers

Professor Barry O’Sullivan
Head of Assessment Research & Development at the British Council

Geoff Stead
Chief Product Officer at Babbel

Dr. Carol Spöttl
Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Innsbruck and Head of the Language Testing Group Innsbruck (LTRGI).

Professor Han Baocheng
Deputy Director of the National Research Center for Foreign Language Education in Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).

Dr. Hanan Khalifa
Head of Research and International Education from Cambridge Assessment English and University of Cambridge

Dr. Souba Rethinasamy 
Associate Professor at the Faculty of Language and Communication, and also serves as Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).  

Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh
Founding director of the Center for Language Testing and Assessment at the University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi.

Robin Skipsey
Academic Manager at the British Council.

Bruce Howell
Associate Professor in Language Assessment and Head of Foundation, Study and Language Institute (FSLI) at the University of Reading.

Professor Andy Kirkpatrick
Professor in the Department of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities

Gordon Allan
A member of the Leaders of English Education Project team under British Council.

Dr. Abdul Halim Abdul Raof
Associate Professor at the Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru.