University of Bedfordshire ranked as 'world leading' in English language research

The Luton based University of Bedfordshire is leading the world in English language proficiency.

By Lynn Hughes
Monday, 16th May 2022, 12:23 pm

Its research into English language proficiency and improving methodologies for its assessment has been recognised by the Research Excellence Framework as world leading, the highest rating possible.

REF 2021, the system used to assess the quality and impact of research conducted by all UK universities, released its results on Thursday. It classified 72% of the research submitted by the University’s research institute, the Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment (CRELLA) as world leading. This placed it third in the country in research conducted in the field of English and English Language.

Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire said: “These results are truly exceptional. REF 2021 marks an important advance in the recognition of language testing as a field of study and the leading role of the University of Bedfordshire within that area.

The Postgraduate centre at the University of Bedfordshire

“It is fantastic news for the University of Bedfordshire and testimony to the quality of the research carried out at the University.

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Through the REF, Bedfordshire has pitted itself against the more traditional universities and is placed above both Oxford and Cambridge in the English unit of assessment, ranking 3rd out of 92 submissions.

CRELLA’s research has had a major impact on international language test providers, enabling them to clarify the proficiency levels underpinning their English language testing. CRELLA works closely with leading test boards both in the UK and abroad including Cambridge Assessment, government organisations such as the British Council and charitable organisations such as the Foundation of Japan.

CRELLA has led the way in investigating the effects of digital technology and the introduction of innovative approaches on the assessment of language skills.

Its research has resulted in the development of the ‘socio-cognitive framework’ (SCF). Originally conceived by the Centre’s founder, Professor Cyril Weir, the SCF has been continually developed over the past 20 years. The SCF now provides a comprehensive representation of real-life language use in the digital age, enhancing the quality of English assessments around the world.

The research into English language proficiency levels has obvious benefits to society, improving job prospects, increasing transnational mobility and opening doors to educational and training opportunities for millions of English language users.