The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (Language and Communication Institute, UCLouvain, Belgium) has an opening for a postdoctoral fellowship for a period of two years, starting May - July 2022.
The position is part of a research project directed by Dr. Magali Paquot and funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS): Adaptive Comparative Judgment for large-scale proficiency rating in L2 research: task conditions and their impact on reliability and validity.
The project focuses on the construct of proficiency in learner Corpus Research. Though proficiency is one of the most important constructs in Second Language Research, its measurement has not always received the attention it deserves, and practices of proficiency level assignment have been the subject of continued criticism. In many learner corpora, proficiency is still operationalized in ways that are widely regarded as unreliable (e.g. institutional status). While some learner corpora improve on the current state of the art by including text-based proficiency scores, the time and cost difficulties typically associated with analytical scoring means that it is often absent from, or operationalized in unreliable ways, in currently available large-scale learner corpora.
The main objective of the research project is to investigate whether Adaptive Comparative Judgment (ACJ), a method used in educational assessment, can be used for reliable and valid large-scale proficiency rating of learner corpora. The project will examine the effect of judges' language assessment training and expertise, as well as of text features such as topic and length, on the reliability and validity of ACJ tasks. It will also analyze the relationship between the linguistic characteristics of learner texts and how they are rated in ACJ tasks. Answering a call for more research into CJ validity, the project will also collect and analyze the judges' justifications that underpin their selection of one text above the other, and examine correlations between ACJ rank orders and CEFR levels of learner texts in learner corpora such as the International Corpus of Learner English.
See for more details about the origin of the project: Paquot, M., Rubin, R. & Vandeweerd, N. (in press 2022). Crowdsourced Adaptive Comparative Judgment: A community-based solution for proficiency rating. Language Learning 72(3). [article available upon request]
Job description: Activities that the postdoctoral fellow will perform include:
* develop, implement and monitor a series of online ACJ tasks
* recruit participants for the crowdsourced experiments
* analyze learner texts with corpus-based tools and techniques
* analyze and interpret results and report on the project at conferences and in academic publications;
Requirements and profile: - PhD degree in (Applied) Linguistics; - Research experience in one of the following areas is an asset: language assessment, learner corpus research - Demonstrable knowledge of corpus linguistic methodology and statistics - Knowledge of programming languages such as Python and/or R is an asset - Excellent track record of conference presentations and publications - Excellent skills in academic English, both written and spoken - Excellent and demonstrated self-management skills, ability and willingness to work in a team; - Willingness to live in or near Louvain-la-Neuve and to travel abroad (for short-term research stays and to attend international academic conferences).
Terms of employment: - The contract will initially be for one year, renewable once, with a total of two years. - The candidate will receive a postdoctoral fellowship grant (starting at approx. EUR 2600 net per month) and medical insurance. - The position requires residence in Belgium - Applicants from outside the EU are responsible for obtaining the necessary visa or permits, with the assistance of UCLouvain staff department.
Application Deadline: Review of applications will begin on 15 April 2022, and continue until the position is filled
Applications should include: - a full academic CV; - a motivation letter (of up to two pages), specifying how the expertise of the candidate aligns with the envisaged research and the overall project; - a writing sample (preferably a published article or a chapter of the PhD thesis); - the names and full contact details of two academic referees.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (in situ or via video conferencing) in Spring 2022.
Applications (as an email attachment) and inquiries should be addressed to Magali Paquot ( magali.paquot at uclouvain.be<mailto:magali.paquot at uclouvain.be> )
Dr. Magali Paquot Centre for English Corpus Linguistics Institut Langage et Communication UCLouvain https://perso.uclouvain.be/magali.paquot/
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