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Bruce Howell


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.

Lead on UoRM international projects such as mobility and international partnerships.

Base Section
FSLI (Foundation, Study and Language Institute)

Active Projects

Giving strategic direction to the development of pathway, support and mobility programmes at University of Reading Malaysia. Managing, developing and launching programmes equivalent to ISLI programmes, while providing leadership for locally-employed staff.


After teaching in Slovakia, Poland and Japan as an English teacher, Bruce joined Reading in 2003 and has since then developed extensive experience in EAP (English for Academic Purposes), with a particular interest in language assessment. Bruce has taught EAP, directed English Language and Culture-based short courses, led the development of the University of Reading's Test of English for Educational Purposes (TEEP) and other assessments, externally audited programmes at other UK universities, and been an active member of professional associations such as BALEAP and UKALTA. He has been involved with a number of internationalisation projects for the University of Reading, including currently at 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.

A Few Personal Comments

I now spend time with my family exploring the delights of South East Asia, during our stay just north of the equator!

Bruce Howell has extensive experience in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as well as English as a Foreign Language (EFL). His speciality is 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 developing the multi-faceted success of the Reading-based ISLI (International Study and Language Institute) at the Malaysia campus.

Current research includes on-going development of all aspects of the TEEP test and the internal assessment system of the Pre-sessional English programme, and developing a language policy for the Malaysia campus.

Bruce Howell was a member of the Working Party on Testing for the British Association of Lecturers of EAP (BALEAP), which investigates suitability of English language assessments for UK university entry.

Bruce is also a member of ILTA and EALTA.

2016: 'The Power of Collaboration: Reflections on St. Andrews EAP Conference (with Aaron Woodcock), T&L Exchange Blog, University of Reading, July 2016.

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.

Conference Presentations:

2019: "Transplanting a British EAP Programme to Malaysia: Not Easy!", Professional Interest Meeting (BALEAP) Assessing the assessors: reviewing assessment practices in (and beyond) EAP, University of Birmingham.

2019: "'International' delivery of international foundation programmes - an I2FP model?". Panel discussion at InForm Conference via video link, University of Reading.

2019: "Providing a UK IFP experience in Malaysia - successes and challenges", InForm Conference, University of Reading Malaysia.

2018: "Assessing in English at a British university campus in Malaysia", Plenary Panel Discussion, New Directions in English Language Assessment conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2017: "Round table - enhancing student engagement on IFPs", InForm Conference, University of Reading Malaysia.

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)


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