Photo of Janna Fox

Janna Fox

Professor (Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies)

Degrees:B.A. (Montana), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D. (McGill)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2046
Office:259 Paterson Hall


Janna Fox, PhD, is Director of the Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit and Professor within the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University, Canada, where she teaches courses on research methods, language testing, and curriculum. Her research addresses questions arising from the interplay of language teaching, assessment, curriculum, and policy. Her recent books include a co-edited volume with Vahid Aryadoust, Trends in Language Assessment Research and Practice: the view from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim, published by Cambridge Scholars Press, and a co-authored book (with Liying Cheng) on assessment for language teachers with Liying Cheng, which is part of the Palgrave Macmillan series Applied Linguistics for the Language Classroom. She was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Language Assessment/Association canadienne pour l’évaluation des langues (CALA/ACEL). She is the principal developer of a number of high-stakes language tests including the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment, and was awarded the 3M Teaching Fellowship for leadership and scholarship in higher education. She serves on the Board of Paragon Testing Inc., Vancouver, Canada.

Director, Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit
Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit (LATRU), 259 Paterson Hall, carries out research related to assessment and test development. LATRU engages in test development in both high and low stakes settings, and has overseen the development of such tests as the Citizenship Application Test, the Oral Proficiency in English Communicative Settings (OPECS), and the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment. Recent LATRU projects include:

  • the evaluation of the implementation of Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) in Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes for Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and,
  • the development, interpretation, and application of diagnostic assessment in first-year engineering. The diagnostic project aims to identify entering students-at-risk and provide early pedagogical support in order to increase retention and academic success.

Dr. Maryam Wagner (SSHRC Post-doctoral fellow), and Elizabeth Schuth (doctoral candidate at Bamberg University, Germany and Visiting Scholar) are both working on this LATRU project with Dr. Fox.

Research Interests

  • Language testing: assessment models in first and second languages, issues of validity in test use, alternative assessment.
  • Writing: the development of academic literacies, the relationship between theoretical models of writing and assessment; pedagogical genres..
  • Curriculum development and program development: implications of particular teaching models in culturally diverse contexts, strategies for teacher development, the role of evaluation and teacher development in curricular change and innovation.

Courses Currently or Recently Taught

  • ALDS 1001: Introduction to Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies
  • ALDS 4201: Language Testing
  • ALDS 5002: Inquiry Strategies in Applied Language Studies
  • ALDS 5202: Curriculum in Language Teaching
  • ALDS 5204: Seminar in University Teaching
  • ALDS 5501: Language Testing and Assessment
  • ALDS 6201/ALDS 6202 Doctoral Seminars in ALDS: Theories and Methodologies

Selective Recent Publications (2009-2016)

  • Books edited

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

  • Chapters in books

Fox, J., Haggerty, J. & Artemeva, N. (forthcoming). 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. Cham, CH: Springer International.

Fox, J. & Hirotani, M. (2016). Detecting incremental changes in oral proficiency in neuroscience and language testing: Advantages of Interdisciplinary collaboration. In V. Arayadoust & J. Fox, (Eds.), Trends in language assessment research and practice: The view from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim (pp. 89-120). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.

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 Arayadoust, V. & Fox, J. (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.

Haggerty, J. & Fox, J. (2016). Test intensity, language testing experience, and the motivation to learn English in South Korea. In Arayadoust, V. & Fox, J. (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. (2015). Merrill Swain: Biasing for the best in language testing and learning. In A. J. Kunnan (Ed.), Talking about language assessment: The LAQ interviews (pp. 17–34). New York, NY: Routledge.

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2014). The formation of a professional communicator: A socio-rhetorical approach. In V. Bhatia & S. Bremner (Eds), The Routledge handbook of language and professional communication (pp. 461–485). London, UK: Routledge.

Fox, J. & Hartwick, P. (2011). Taking a diagnostic turn: Reinventing the portfolio in EAP classrooms. In D. Tsagari and I. Csépes (Eds.), Classroom-based language assessment (pp. 47–62). Frankfurt, DE: Peter Lang.

Fox, J. & Curtis, A. (2010). IELTS: International English Language Testing System. In L. Cheng and A. Curtis, (Eds.), English language assessment and the Chinese learner (pp 112–120). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

  • Articles in Refereed Journals

Fox, J. & Cheng, L. (2015). Walk a mile in my shoes: Stakeholder accounts of testing experience with a computer-administered test. TESL Canada, 32(9), 65-86.

Fox, J. (2014). Portfolio based language assessment (PBLA) in Canadian immigrant language training: Have we got it wrong? Contact, Special Research Symposium Issue, 40(2), 68–83.

Klinger, D. Cheng, L., Fox, J. & Doe, C. (2014). Motivation and test anxiety in test performance across three testing contexts: The CAEL, CET and GEPT. TESOL Quarterly, 48(2), 300–330. doi: 10.1002/tesq.105

Fox, J., Cheng, L. & Zumbo, B. (2014). Do they make a difference? The impact of English language programs on second language (L2) students in Canadian universities. TESOL Quarterly, 48(1), 57–85. doi: 10.1002/tesq.103

DeLuca, C., Cheng, L., Fox, J., Doe, C., & Li, M. (2013). Putting testing researchers to the test: An exploratory study on the TOEFL iBT. System, 41, 663–676.

Cheng, L. & Fox, J. (2013). Review of doctoral research in language assessment in Canada (2006–2011). Language teaching: Surveys and studies, 46, 518–544. doi:10.1017/S0261444813000244

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2011). The writing’s on the board: The global and the local in teaching undergraduate mathematics through chalk talk. Written Communication, 28, 345–379. (invited paper) doi:10.1177/0741088311419630 

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2011). The cinematic art of teaching university mathematics: Chalk talk as embodied practice. Multimodal Communication, 1(1), 83–103.

Doe, C. & Fox, J. (2011). Exploring the testing process: Three test takers’ observed and reported strategy use over time and testing contexts. Canadian Modern Language Review, 67(1), 29–53.

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2010). Awareness vs. production: Probing students’ antecedent genre knowledge. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 24(4), 476–515. 

Fox, J. (2009). Moderating top-down policy impact and supporting EAP curricular renewal: Exploring the potential of diagnostic assessment. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8, 26–42.

Fairbairn, S. & Fox, J. (2009). Inclusive achievement testing for linguistically and culturally diverse test takers: Essential considerations for test developers and decision makers. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 28(1), 10–24.

  • Editorials

Fox, J. (2015). Trends and Issues in Language Assessment in Canada: A Consideration of Context. Language Assessment Quarterly (J. Fox, guest editor), 12(1), pp. 1-9.

  • Selected Presentations

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.k

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

Fox, J. (2015, May). Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics Conference [Invited discussant]. Canadian Association of Language Assessment (CALA) Annual Symposium on Testing and Assessment in Canada. University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON. 

Fox, J. (2015, March). Testing as 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, and B. Maddox]. Language Testing Research Colloquium, Toronto, ON.

Fox, J., & Haggerty, J. (2014, March). Mitigating Risk in first-year Engineering: Post-admission diagnostic assessment in a Canadian university. Post-admission Language Assessments in Universities Internationally Symposium (Coordinator, John Read, University of Auckland, NZ. American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Portland, OR.

Artemeva, N., Fox, J., & Fogarty-Bourget, C. G. (2014, August). Multimodal genre of teaching mathematics. Pontificia Universidad Católica, Viña del Mar, Chile.

Fox, J. (2014, December). Language Testing: A conversation about 2nd language assessment [Invited featured lecture]. Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, York University, Toronto, ON.

Fox, J., Fraser, W. & Chandrasekaran, A. (2013, October). Reflections on the impact of Portfolio Based Language Assessment: The Ottawa field test and beyond [Invited research presentation]. Symposium on the Canadian Language Benchmarks and Assessment (Coordinators, David Wood, Carleton University and Hedy McGarrell, Brock University). TESL Ontario Conference, Toronto, ON. [85%:10%:5%]

Fox, J., Haggerty, J., & Goodarzi, Z. (2013, July). Finding the right balance: Diagnostic assessment in first-year University (Coordinator, John Read, University of Auckland, NZ). Symposium on Post-Admission Language Assessment, Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), Seoul, South Korea.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2013, June). Not a trivial pursuit: Mixed method research of mathematical pedagogical practice. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW). University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

Aryadoust, V., & Fox, J. (2012, November). Using adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system and path analysis to explore factors influencing item difficulty in while-listening performance tests. ALTAANZ 2012 Conference, University of Sydney, Sydney, AU.

Aryadoust, V., & Fox, J. (2012, November). Investigating dimensionality in language tests: The case of the listening module of the International English Language Competency Assessment (IELCA). ALTAANZ 2012 Conference, University of Sydney, Sydney, AU.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2012, August). Both dancer and dance: A multimodal analysis of the genre of teaching university mathematics. 6th International Conference on Multimodality, University of London, Institute of Education, London, UK.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2012, June). Genres of mathematics: Multimodal treatment of pedagogical practices: The case of mathematics. Genre 2012 Conference, Carleton.

Fox, J. (2011, June). What does this mark mean? [Symposium convener. Participants A. Kashani, Y. Sun, and C. Doe]. Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics Conference (Canadian Association of Language Assessment (CALA) Annual Symposium on Testing and Assessment in Canada). University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB.

Fox, J. & Kashani, A. (2011, June). Relating scores on a diagnostic test to learning and teaching: Pitfalls and potentials. Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, June 2011.

Fox, J. & Artemeva, N. (2011, June). Raters as stakeholders: Uptake in the context of diagnostic assessment. Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2011, May). The writing’s on the board: An international study of chalk talk genre in teaching undergraduate mathematics [Invited paper]. Multimodal Research Centre Seminar, Auckland University of Technology, NZ.

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2011, May). The writing’s on the board: An international study of chalk talk genre in teaching undergraduate mathematics [Invited paper]. Seminar Series of Key Researchers in TESOL: The TESOL Research Network, the University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Fox, J. (2010, May). Special Colloquium on Language Assessment in Canada [Convenver]. Canadian Education Research Association (CERA). Montreal, QC.

Cheng, L, Fox, J., Fraser, W. Doe, C. (2010, May). The interaction of motivation and test anxiety in performance on a high-stakes language test: What does the test score really measure? Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, Montreal, QC.

Artemeva, N & Fox, J. (2010, May). It’s all about you: Instructor approachability and personal pronouns in the university mathematics classroom. Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, Montreal, QC.

Fox, J. (2010, February). Three key issues in language testing: The case of ELLs, the OSSLT, and success at university teachers of English as a Second Language [Invited Keynote Address]. Ottawa-Carleton Board of Education, Ottawa, ON.

Fox, J. (2009, November). Pitfalls and potentials: Assessment in language teaching and learning [Invited plenary]. TESL Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS.

Fox, J. (2009, October). Supporting transitions: Assessment, literacy and academic achievement, [Symposium convener]. TESL Canada, Banff, AB.

Fox, J. (with H. Roessingh, L. Cheng, C. Doe, S. Douglas) (2009, October). Diagnostic assessment as a means to EAP curricular renewal. Supporting transitions: Assessment literacy and academic achievement. TESL Canada, Banff, AB.

Artemeva, N., Fox, J. & McEachen, M. (2009, June). Chalk talk: A ubiquitous genre of teaching university mathematics [Featured speakers]. University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2009, May). Unacknowledged genres of university teaching: Chalk talk in mathematics [Invited paper]. Writing Research Seminar, Department of Scandinavian Languages, Stockholm University, Stockholm, SE.

Artemeva, N., Fox, J. & A. Paré (2009, May). In search of Territoire/Place for genres in disciplinary teaching: The case of Mathematics. Annual conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Artemeva, N. & Fox, J. (2009, April). An unacknowledged genre of teaching mathematics at university: An international perspective [Invited paper]. EDU Informal Seminar, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, UK.

Recent Research Grants

Internal Research Grant, Faculty of Engineering, Identifying students-at-risk in undergraduate engineering: diagnostic assessment and targeted pedagogical support, $30,000, 2014-2016.

SSHRC Funded Research Grant, Impact of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test on Second Language Students (Co-Investigator, with L. Cheng (Principal Investigator) and D. Klinger (Co-Investigator), $130,000, 2005-2008.

SSHRC funded research (Principal Investigator), Cost and Benefits: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Instruction in Canadian Universities, (with L. Cheng and R. Berman) $126,000, 2003-2007.


  • Canadian Association of Language Assessment/Association canadienne pour l’évaluation des langues (CALA/ACEL)
  • International Language Testing Association (ILTA)
  • American Association of Applied Linguistics
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics

Current and Recent Graduate Supervision

  • PhD
    [NOTE: The doctoral program began in 2013; until that year, only Master’s degrees were awarded]

Christina Doré (2014- ), completing doctoral project 2

Peggy Hartwick (2013- ), completing doctoral project 1 (co-supervision with G. Gentil)

Nwara Abdulhamid (2013- ), completing doctoral project 2

Poonam Anand (2013- ), ABD

Carla Schnitzler Hall (2013- ), ABD

Ana Lucia Tavares Monteiro (2015- ), completing required doctoral courses.

Josée-Anna Tanner (2015- ), completing required doctoral courses.

Mohammad Muftah (2015-   ), (co-supervision with T. O‘Brien, and K. Murasugi), completing required doctoral courses.

Anne Mullen (2009) Laval University (Joint Direction with Dr. Denise De König, Laval University, Adjunct Professor Appointment 2005-2009) 

  • Thesis (M.A.), SlaLS

John Haggerty, Exploring test impact on young English language learners (ELLs) in South Korea (2010). Senate Medal

Anthony Stock, Department of Sociology, (co-supervisor). The impact of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test on Second Language Students, (2010)

Nwara Abdulhamid, What is the impact of the Libyan Study Abroad Scholarship Programme on returning university-level English teachers? (2010, with distinction) Senate Medal Nomination.

Jane Birkenhead, Vocabulary Proficiency as a Marker of Academic Success: A Small-Scale Investigation of Undergraduate Writing within a Discipline (2011)

Max Weinstein, A Study of University Student Writing Development: Investigating the Importance of Lexical Bundles in Novice and Upper-Level Writing in a Single Discipline (2011)

Nicole Carter, Master’s Level Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning (Canada, 2008-2010): Paradigms, Methods and Analyses (2012)

Melissa McLeod, Looking for an ounce of prevention: The potential for diagnostic assessment in academic acculturation (2012). University Medal

Zinat Goodarzi, From outside in: A case study of changing roles in an undergraduate first year discourse community (2012).

Pam MacNight-Root, Effective Literacy Practices in Early French Immersion: The Development of Critical Thinking in EFI Classrooms (2013)

Yogendra Bhattarai, The School Leaving Certificate (SLC) Examination of Nepal: Exploring negative consequences (2014).

Christina (Nina) Doré, C., Exploring teacher perceptions of a textbook-free ASL program at a Canadian university: A qualitative mixed methods study (2014).

Josée-Anna Tanner. Examining the construct of proficiency in a university’s American Sign Language (ASL) program: A mixed-methods study (2014).

Stephanie Mauk, Making It Theirs: The Case of Portfolio Use by Teachers in a Tutorial Setting (2015).

Tina Beynen, Atoms misbehaving: Assessing university students’ comprehension of English metaphor in engineering textbooks (2015). Senate Medal.

Thamina Anwar. The Bangladeshi Perspective: The Case of Married Academic Women Pursuing Foreign Degrees (2015).

Fortin-Lalonde, Codie (2015-   ). In progress. 

  • Research Essays (M. A.) SLaLS

Mai Lei (Bing), Conflict and Cooperation in Language Testing: A Game Theory Approach   (2009).

Poonam Ananad, Validating a Placement Test in the Middle East: Test Analysis (2011).

Maya Sampson, What Applied Linguists Do: An Investigation of Research Practices in the Field (2012).

Marisa Sosa, On-line Self-Assessment for Potential Immigrants: Accurate or Misleading? (2014).

Marisa Frederickson, The Impact of Digital Texts on the Development of Literacy in Children (2014).

Diane Duff, Pick up the ‘Phon’: Montessori Teacher Training and Beginning Reading Instruction (2015).