Angela B. Pavitt Professorship in English honors research in second language assessment

Gary Ockey (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Gary J. Ockey, professor of English, has been selected to receive the Angela B. Pavitt Professorship in English. This prestigious award honors extraordinary Iowa State English faculty who have a focus area related to English as a Second Language.

Ockey is a faculty member in Iowa State’s applied linguistics program, which uses technology to investigate real-world problems in which language is a central issue. Ockey studies second language assessments, focusing on the use of technology and quantitative methods to better measure oral communication.

He plans to use the first two years of the professorship’s funding to support research assistance and data collection for his current book-in-progress, “Introducing Language Assessment,” commissioned by Cambridge University Press.

“I am extremely grateful for the support of the Angela B. Pavitt Professorship,” Ockey said. “This financial support will make it possible for me to realize my dream of writing a book on second language assessment.”

The Angela B. Pavitt Professorship in English was established by the late Dale Grosvenor (‘48 agricultural engineering, ‘49 mechanical engineering, MS ’60 statistics, Ph.D. ’63 Statistics), a former faculty member in the Departments of Statistics and Computer Science.

Ockey started his career teaching English at the high school level in Taiwan. He taught students and trained English teachers in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and the United States for more than 15 years, and was inspired to devote much of his career to creating better oral language assessments.

Ockey’s books include “Assessing L2 Listening: Moving Towards Authenticity, co-authored with Elvis Wagner, and “Another Generation of Fundamental Considerations in Language Assessment: A Festschrift in honor of Lyle F. Bachman,” co-edited with Brent Green.

His research is published in Applied Linguistics; Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice; International Journal of Listening; Language Learning; Language Assessment Quarterly; Language Testing; Modern Language Journal; and TESOL Quarterly.

Ockey co-founded the Language Assessment Research Conference. He is a past editor of the TOEFL Research Report Series and currently is a co-Editor of Language Assessment Quarterly.

Ockey earned his Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles.