Photo of Janna Fox

Janna Fox

Professor Emeritus (Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies)

Degrees:B.A. (Montana), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D. (McGill)

Research Interests

  • The interplay of language teaching, assessment, curriculum, and policy
  • Validity and validation: assessment in context
  • Inquiry approaches in applied linguistics, writing and discourse studies, and teaching and learning languages

Selected Recent Publications (additional details are provided below)

  • Recent books co-authored and edited 

Fox, J., & Artemeva, N. (2022). Reconsidering context in language assessment: Transdisciplinary
perspectives, social theories, and validity. London/New York:Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.



Cheng, L. & Fox, J. (2017). Assessment in the language classroom. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Arayadoust, V. & Fox, J. (Eds.). (2016). Current trends in language testing in the Pacific Rim and the Middle
East: Policies, analyses, and diagnoses. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.


  • 3M national teaching award 2003
  • Teaching and research awards; Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Award for best dissertation in language testing, 2002; best research article awards (Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), 2012 (with N. Artemeva); Canadian Association for Discourse and Writing Studies (CASDW), 2017 (with J. Haggerty and N. Artemeva)
  • Research mentor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2010-2016; Graduate student mentorship award 2020

Additional, Selected Publications 

  • Chapters in books

Fogarty-Bourget, C. G., Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2019). Gestural Silence: An engagement device in the multimodal genre of the chalk talk lecture. In C. Sancho Guinda (Ed.), Engagement in professional genres: Disclosure and deference (pp. 177-195). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Haggerty, J. & Fox, J. (2016). Test intensity, language testing experience, and the motivation to learn English in South Korea. In V. Arayadoust, & J. Fox (Eds.), Trends in language assessment research and practice: The view from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim (pp. 486-512). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Fox, J., Haggerty, J., & Artemeva, N. (2016). Mitigating risk: The impact of a diagnostic assessment procedure on the first-year experience in engineering.  In J. Read (Ed.), Post-admission language assessment of university students (pp. 43-65). Cham, CH: Springer International.

Fox, J., von Randow, J., & Volkov, A. (2016). Identifying students at-risk through post-entry diagnostic assessment: An Australasian approach takes root in a Canadian university. In V. Arayadoust & J. Fox. (Eds.), Trends in language assessment research and practice: The view from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim (pp. 266-285). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.

  • Articles in Refereed Journals

Garcia, A. & Fox, J. (2020). Contexts and constructs: Implications for the testing of listening in pilots’ radiotelephony communication with air traffic controllers. The Especialist, special issue on aeronautical communication/Aviation English, 41(4).

Abdulhamid, N., & Fox, J. (2020). Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) in Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Programs: Taking stock of teachers’ experience. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(2), 168–192.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2017). From diagnosis toward academic support: Developing a disciplinary, ESP-based writing task and rubric to identify the needs of entering undergraduate engineering students. ESP Today, 5(2), 148-171.

Fox, J. & Cheng, L. (2016). Walk a mile in my shoes: Stakeholder accounts of testing experience with a computer-administered test. TESL Canada Journal, 32(9), 65-86.

Haggerty, J. & Fox, J. (2015). Raising the bar: Language testing experience and second language motivation among South Korean young adolescents. Language Testing in Asia, 5(11). DOI: 10.1186/s40468-015-0018-0 Retrieved from:

  • Major encyclopedia, handbook, or dictionary chapters

Fox, J., Abdulhamid, N., & Turner, C. E. (2022). Classroom based assessment. In G. Fulcher & L. Harding (Eds.), Routledge handbook of language testing (pp. 119-135). London/New York: Routledge.

Fox, J. (2017). Alternative assessment/Portfolio Assessment. In E. Shohamy, I. Or & S. May (Eds.), Language testing and assessment: Encyclopedia of language and education, 3rd edition (pp. 101-117). New York, NY: Springer.

  • Editorial/Review articles

Fox, J. (2021). Perspectives on the multilingual turn in assessment: Constructs and consequences in context. Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices, 2(2), 310-319.

Fox, J. (2015). Trends and issues in language assessment in Canada: A consideration of context.  Editorial/Special issue (J. Fox, guest editor). Canada: Perspective on language policy, stakeholders, and assessment. Language Assessment Quarterly, 12(1), 1–9.

  • Selected Presentations

Fox, J. (2021, November). Portfolio-based language assessment: Shifting perspectives. Panel presentation, TESL Ontario Virtual Conference, Toronto, ON.

Katagiri, R., Rogers, M. & Fox, J. (2019, July). A lexical analysis of a diagnostic writing assessment: The relationship between lexical profile & sophistication, writing proficiency, and task version. Paper presented at the Vocab@Leuven conference.

Fox, J. (2019, April) Language Testing ‘in the wild’: The diverse and complex roles of testers in the workplace. Invited lecture, Annual Speaker’s Event, Language Assessment Graduate Student Organization, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa:

Beynen, T., & Fox, J. (2018, July). Diagnostic assessment and the transition to university: Fostering success in university. Paper presented at the conference of the International Test Commission (ITC), Montreal, PQ.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, A. (2017, April). Progress report: The diagnostic assessment of entering undergraduate engineering students. Paper presented to Chairs and Directors, Faculty of Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Beynen, T. & Fox, J. (2017, May). Metaphor comprehension as a test construct: Diagnostic assessment, first-year engineering textbooks, and students at-risk. Paper presented at the conference of the Canadian Association of Language Assessment (CALA), York University, Toronto ON.

Fox, J. (2017, March). A personal narrative of border crossings: threshold concepts, liminal spaces, and portals. Invited plenary, Annual Graduate Symposium, School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2017, March). From diagnosis to support: Targeting the writing development of first-year engineering students at-risk. Symposium presentation, Current Research and Practice in Teaching Disciplinary Literacies. College Composition and Communication Conference (CCCC), Portland Oregon.

Fox, J. (2016, April). Diagnostic assessment in first-year, undergraduate engineering: Building connections from diagnosis to learning. Invited plenary and workshop, Engineering communication Program (ECP) 20th Anniversary Speaker Series, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Fox, J. (2015, November). Ecology reconsidered from a diagnostic perspective: Outside in and inside out. Invited paper, Conference of the Laboratory of International Assessment Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Turner, C.E. & Fox, J. (2015, March). Mixed methods research in language assessment: Evolution and practice. Invited full-day workshop, Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), Toronto, ON.

Fox, J. (2015, March). Testing as a social practice: Canada and context in construct representation, test interpretation, and arguments for consequential validity. Plenary/Symposium convener. [Participants, B. Baker, M. Laurier, D. Mellow, K. Begg, D. Slomp, B. Zumbo & B. Maddox]. Language Testing Research Colloquium, Toronto, ON.

NOTE: Professor Fox is no longer accepting new graduate students. As Professor Emeritus she continues to supervise graduate students who were in-process of completing their research at the time of her retirement in July 2020.


Professor Fox’s research has been guided by a concern for improving the quality of language teaching and learning at the nexus of assessment, curriculum, and policy. [i] Her most recent book is entitled Reconsidering context in language assessment: Transdisciplinary perspectives, social theories, and validity, (co-authored with Professor Natasha Artemeva).

Her research has been marked by its transdisciplinarity [ii] – involving research partners within and outside academia, who have brought their differing perspectives, worldviews, expertise, and experience to bear on complex problems of mutual interest. Transdisciplinary research creates conversational and action spaces for learning from differences; dialogue outside disciplinary boundaries increases self-awareness, and reflection. Transdisciplinary research spaces offer new insights and create the potential for innovation in addressing complex problems (such as the consequences of using standardized, high-stakes tests across diverse multicultural, multilingual contexts).

In the past ten years her research has focused on portfolio assessment (its uses and abuses), and diagnostic assessment (linking assessment through learning profiles to individualized, tailored academic support). She has served as an officer of the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) (, chaired the Language Testing Research Colloquium [iii], and was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Language Assessment/ Association canadienne pour l’évaluation des langues (CALA/ACEL).

She was the principal developer of a number of high-stakes language tests including the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment. Much of her work in high-stakes testing was undertaken as founder and first director of the Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit (LATRU) in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, currently under the direction of Dr. Angel Arias.

Professor Fox taught undergraduate courses in applied linguistics and writing studies, and graduate courses in language testing and assessment, curriculum, approaches to inquiry (i.e., theories and methodologies in applied linguistics and discourse studies research). For many years, she co-taught the special topics seminar in university teaching (with Professors Tim Pychyl, Psychology, Devon Woods, SLaLS; and, Flavia Renon, Library).

The Back Story

In the School of Linguistics and Language Studies (SLaLS), Professor Fox’s  undergraduate and graduate teaching has drawn heavily on her experience with language learners of different ages in diverse bilingual and multilingual contexts. In the twelve years following completion of her B.A., she taught English as a foreign language (EFL) in North Africa; as an additional language (EAL) in a language-renewal initiative of the Hopi and Navajo in Arizona; as a second language (ESL) at the primary level (consultant, Winnipeg School Division #1); as English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at secondary (Victoria Composite High School, Edmonton), and post-secondary levels (Seneca College, Toronto). By the 1980s she was coordinating and teaching in a Government of Canada sponsored language program for newly arrived refugees and immigrants in Ottawa, when she accepted a four-year post with the Ministry of Education, Government of Seychelles, as Head of English in a national trilingual (Kreol, English, French) educational reform of the K-12 education system. [iv] Her academic career in SLaLs began upon her return to Canada in 1986, working with Professors Aviva Freedman and Ian Pringle as a Research Associate on the development of the Ontario Assessment Instrument Pool, a curricular and assessment initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Education of the Province of Ontario. The curricular project evolved into a thirty-year career in SLaLS, until her retirement in 2020.

Professor Fox has been honoured by several teaching awards, including most recently, a graduate student mentorship award in 2020, and a Canadian national 3M Teaching Fellowship, which recognizes leadership and scholarship in higher education.

She has participated in national and international projects (e.g., Pakistan, Qatar), involving educational audits, program evaluation, program development; and engaged in research regarding language policy, curriculum, and academic and professional literacies. She continues to supervise graduate students who had not completed their thesis research at the time of Professor Fox’s retirement, engages in research projects, nationally and internationally, and serves on several Boards related to language teaching, learning, program development, and assessment – guided by the wise advice, to always bias for the best (Swain, cited in Fox, 2015). [v]