Staff Profile:

Mr Bruce Howell
Job Title:
Associate Professor

Give strategic direction to the development of FSLI, based at University of Reading Malaysia.

Manage, develop and launch programmes equivalent to ISLI programmes (Foundation, Pre-Sessional English, Academic English Programme, Short Courses), while providing leadership for locally-employed staff.

Areas of Interest:

Bruce Howell has extensive experience in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as well as English as a Foreign Language (EFL). His speciality if in language assessment, in particular tests and assessment for EAP. He has directed, taught on and assessed on Pre-sessional English since 2003, and directed Short Courses in English Language since 2012. From 2003 to 2016 he was the chief administrator for the University of Reading's Test of English for Educational purposes (TEEP). From 2006 to 2016 he was module convenor and lecturer for the 'English for Science' specialist modules in the areas of Food Science and Chemistry.

Bruce is a leader for language test writing, marking, and administration management.

Bruce leads CPD training sessions in the above areas.

Bruce has also been involved in developing the University of Reading's internationalisation drive, for example by supporting international student recruitment through language progression routes or short courses, and by representing the University of Reading at recruitments events.

Bruce's current interest is in transferring the multi-faceted success of the Reading-based ISLI (International Study and Language Institute) to the Malaysia campus.


Pedagogic Interests:

Language assessment, in particular:

  • how assessment can work together with syllabuses and materials, rather than working against them
  • suitability and fairness, from various stakeholders' points of view
  • propagating good testing practice
  • exams vs. other forms of assessment
  • number grading vs. descriptive grading
  • the 'test preparation' effect
  • EAP & ESP assessment at an international level

In teaching, Bruce enjoys all areas of EAP and is particularly interested in integrating skills by using a topic-based approach, and methods of measuring progress.

Research groups / Centres:

Current research includes on-going development of all aspects of the TEEP test and the internal assessment system of the Pre-sessional English programme.

Bruce Howell is a member of the Working Party on Testing for the British Association of Lecturers of EAP (BALEAP), which is investigating suitability of English language assessments for UK university entry. The Working Party plans to publish guidelines and advise UK universities on use of such qualifications for direct and pathway entry.

Bruce is also a member of ILTA and EALTA.


2012: "BALEAP Guidelines on English Language tests for university entry" [report for the leading professional association in its field; joint authorship]

2011: "Further ideas for assessing English on IFPs", InForm 7, April 2011.

2011: "Preparation for English-medium study = academic English test preparation?", in Etherington, S. (Ed.). Proceedings of the 2009 BALEAP conference: English for Specific Purposes.

2009: "Action Research into Pre-sessional Students' Differentiation of Assessments: Using Findings to Improve Courses", in Whong, M. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2007 BALEAP conference: English in a globalising world: English as an academic lingua franca,. Bern: Peter Lang.

2008: "The effect of different types of background knowledge on performance in an EAP reading test", MA dissertation (unpublished) carried out in University of Reading work context.

2007: "TEEP: A Course-Driven Assessment Measure", in Alexander, O. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2005 joint BALEAP/SATEFL conference: New Approaches to Materials Development for Language Learning. Bern: Peter Lang.

2008: University of Reading MA English Language Teaching. Merit (Distinction in dissertation).
2001: Cambridge ESOL Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults.
1992: Trinity College London Teaching English as a Second or Other Language Certificate (Distinction).
1990: University of Surrey BEng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering.

Conference Presentations:

2016: "Valid topic choice in an EAP Speaking test", EALTA conference, Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Valencia.

2016: "Finding the Balance: Designing an ESAP course for Chemists", EAP Conference, University of St. Andrews

2014: "Success in Implementing Task-Based Assessment in 'English for Food Science'", Potsdam University and English Language Teachers' Association Berlin-Brandenburg EAP conference 2014, Potsdam University.

2011: "Guiding Staff through the Process of Selecting Appropriate English Language Tests for University Entry", HEA conference, University of Nottingham.

2011: "Look Before You Leap: Making Ethical Admissions Decisions for University Preparatory Courses", EALTA conference, Sienna.

2011: "How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed?", BALEAP Professional Interest Meeting, University of Bristol.

2010: "Plagiarism and International Students", EALTA Professional Interest Meeting, University of Warwick.

2010: "Co-operation between UK universities: designing pre-entry English assessments", EALTA conference, Den Haag.

(with Diane Schmitt) 'The BALEAP Working Party on Testing', Language Testing Forum (LTF), November 2009, University of Bedfordshire.

'Preparation for English-medium study = academic English test preparation?', BALEAP Conference, April 2009, University of Reading.

'Pre-sessional Students' Differentiation of Assessments', BALEAP conference, April 2007, University of Durham.

'Concurrent formative and summative EAP assessment' BALEAP Professional Interest Meeting: "Assessment in EAP", February 2007 University of Salford.

(with John Slaght) 'The Role of TEEP as a Course-Driven Assessment Measure on a Pre-sessional Programme' BALEAP/SATEFL Joint Conference: "New Approaches to Materials Development for Language Learning", April 2005 Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

(with John Slaght) 'Re-design of an EAP language test: justification and outcome' Language Testing Forum, November 2005, Cambridge.

Experience to date:

In addition to the above mentioned roles, EFL/EAP experience since 1991 includes:

External Audit for Pre-Sessional English at Imperial College London (2015)

Examination writing for Cambridge ESOL (2003-2016)

External examiner for TESOL degree, UCLAN (2010-2015)

EFL teacher trainer for JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme pre-departure briefings (2007-2016)

British Council Tokyo: EAP, EFL and ESP (English for Specific Purposes) teaching; materials writing; examining (BULATS/IELTS); examiner training (1996-2003)

Poland, Slovakia, UK: EFL and ESP teaching (1991-1993)


Bruce Howell photo

Contact Details

+60 7 268 16

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