David Beauchamp

David Beauchamp

I joined Cambridge Assessment in the summer of 2016. Both my professional and academic backgrounds are in language teaching and linguistics. I graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2015 with an MA in Applied Linguistics, which I studied while working overseas as a language teacher, teacher trainer and centre coordinator.

Since joining Cambridge Assessment, I have worked on pieces of research such as validation studies of Cambridge exams through qualitative and quantitative methods, and the Aspects of Writing project, which looks at language change over time in students’ writing. I am particularly interested in the analysis and evaluation of texts through discourse analysis and corpus linguistics.

Outside of work, I enjoy the challenge of learning new languages, seafood, and cycling around Cambridge and the surrounding countryside.

Publications

2020

Using corpus linguistics tools to identify instances of low linguistic accessibility in tests

Beauchamp, D. and Constantinou, F. (2020). Using corpus linguistics tools to identify instances of low linguistic accessibility in tests. Research Matters: A Cambridge Assessment publication, 29, 10-16.

Assessment is a useful process as it provides various stakeholders (e.g., teachers, parents, government, employers) with information about students' competence in a particular subject area. However, for the information generated by assessment to be useful, it needs to support valid inferences. One factor that can undermine the validity of inferences from assessment outcomes is the language of the assessment material. For example, the use of excessively complex grammar and difficult vocabulary in the formulation of test questions may prevent students from displaying their true knowledge and skills (e.g., students who are not native speakers of the target language). In an attempt to support teachers and test developers in designing linguistically accessible assessment material, this study explored practical ways of investigating the linguistic complexity of test questions both at the level of vocabulary (lexical complexity) and grammar (syntactic complexity). The study compiled three corpora of examination questions and undertook automated lexical and syntactic analyses of these questions using software packages that are typically employed in the field of corpus linguistics.

2019

To what extent is the language of this test question readable? Tools for investigating the linguistic accessibility of assessment material.
Beauchamp., D. and Constantinou, F. (2019). To what extent is the language of this test question readable? Tools for investigating the linguistic accessibility of assessment material. Presented at the annual conference of the British Educational Research Association, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, 10-12 September 2019.

Research Matters

Research Matters 28: Autumn 2019

Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.