Pearson's Team of Leading Experts

Ordinate Corporation, creator of the Versant tests, has been combined with Pearson's Assessment Product Solutions.

The Assessment Product Solutions of Pearson is the leading organization in the field of automatic assessment of language. Pearson holds key intellectual property, patents, and expertise in the basic methods and applications of linguistics, statistics and signal processing to spoken language assessment. Pearson's principal activities are in advanced research in spoken language performance, in reading assessment, in development of effective instruments for assessment of speech-borne information, and in commercial applications in these areas.

To drive its leadership in the development and deployment of tests of language delivered by phone and computer, the Assessment Product Solutions of Pearson has a small but highly specialized staff of more than 40 linguistic, psychometric, and software engineering staff who collaborate in the design and implementation of each Versant product. In addition to full-time employees, Pearson leverages a network of field professionals to include specific domain or subject matter expertise that is relevant to a project.

Core Test Development Team

Bill Bonk, Test Development

Bill has a joint PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science, and a master's degrees in Second Language Studies. His interests and work have been in growth modeling, data visualization, learning and memory for sequences, foreign language psycholinguistics, and second language teaching and testing. In addition to the U.S., Bill has lived and worked in France, Italy, Ecuador, Japan, Hawaii, and Brazil.

Xin Chen, Research & Development

Xin Chen received the BS degree in computer science from Tianjin University, Tianjin, China, in 2006, and the M.S. and PhD degree in computer science from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2008 and 2011, respectively. He has rich experience and deep understanding in acoustic modeling, automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and algorithms. Xin is actively involved in advancing the state of automatic speech recognition and is part of new test development, validation, research and implementation of new traits. Prior to joining the Assessment Product Solutions of Pearson, he interned at Rosetta Stone, Boulder, CO, at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY and at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA. My personnel website:

Lindsay Horn, Test Development

Lindsay obtained her MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University. She has experience in high-stakes test development and item validation. In her role at Pearson, she manages English and non-English item banks, conducts item development, item research, statistical analysis, and generates many reports provided to key stakeholders. Lindsay has contributed to the development of a few high-stakes test development projects, including the development of the English for Professionals (E^Pro) exam. Prior to joining Pearson, Lindsay worked for the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy focusing on the development of the national licensure exams for physical therapist and physical therapist assistants.

Mallory Klungtvedt, Test Development

Mallory has an MA in Applied Linguistics and a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She has been a part of the Test Development team for more than 5 years, working on developing automated language tests. Before joining the Test Development team, she taught English as a foreign language in the Czech Republic and Ecuador.

Masa Suzuki, Test Development

Masa has an MA in English with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). He has 10 years of experience in developing and validating automated spoken language tests. He has significant experience implementing custom requirements onto the Versant patented technology platform. Masa has successfully managed several high-stakes test development projects, including the development of the Versant Aviation English Test under a cooperative agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the development and validation of the Versant Arabic Test under a contract with the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and the development and validation of the Spoken Chinese Test with Peking University. He frequently presents research results at respected international conferences in the field of language testing and applied linguistics such as Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) and American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL).

Xiaoqiu Xu, Test Development

Xiaoqiu Xu has a PhD in Developmental and Psychological Sciences, with a specialization in second language acquisition and testing, and an MS in TESOL and an MA in East Asian Studies. She has extensive language teaching experience in both China and USA. Before joining Pearson, Xiaoqiu was an instructor and supervisor at the Stanford Teacher Education Program, where she taught a core master-level course Instruction and Curriculum to pre-service language teachers and supervised their student teaching practicum. She also worked with the California Foreign Language Project and Palo Alto Unified School District for the development of their first four-skill Mandarin assessment for young students (K-5), and served as a research assistant for language programs co-sponsored by the California Foreign Language Project, National Foreign Language Center, College Board, Hanban, etc.


John de Jong

John H.A.L. de Jong is Vice President Test Development at Pearson. He has over 30 years experience in language testing. John graduated in General Linguistics, French and English languages from Leiden University and obtained a Ph.D. in Educational Measurement from Twente University. He holds a chair in Language Testing at the VU University Amsterdam, and has published articles and books on language assessment and educational measurement. John has specialized in empirical scaling and the development of internationally standardized reporting scales of language proficiency. He was involved in developing the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Before starting his career in language testing, John had been teaching French for seven years in secondary schools.

Past Advisors and Scientists

Dr. Brent Townsend, Ordinate Founder

Dr. Townshend founded Ordinate in 1996 with Dr. Jared Bernstein. He has extensive experience in signal processing, statistical modeling, computer and database systems design. Dr. Townshend has launched and managed two successful companies, and he is the inventor of the 56k modems that are now being sold by leading computing and communications companies. He was also a Consulting Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and former principal investigator at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Jared Bernstein, Senior Scientist/Consultant

Jared is a recognized leader in the field of spoken language testing. He has a PhD in Psycholinguistics and an MA in Linguistics. He founded Ordinate with Dr. Brent Townsend in 1996 and developed the patented Versant testing system. Jared has led commercial system developments in both text-to-speech synthesis and speech recognition. He has extensive experience in speech processing and voice interactive system design at SRI International, MIT and Telesensory Systems, as well as editorial positions in linguistics and speech processing. He is a Consulting Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University and has taught English and linguistics in the Middle East and South America.

Professor Lyle Bachman, Applied Linguistics, UCLA

Professor Bachman is a past president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics and of the International Language Testing Association. He was also the first winner of the TESOL/Newbury House Award for Outstanding Research, and has won the Modern Language Association of America's Kenneth Mildenberger Award for outstanding research publication twice. He is currently co-editor, of the journal Language Testing and of the Cambridge University Press series, Language Assessment. Professor H. Douglas Brown, Professor of English, San Francisco State University (SFSU) Professor Brown is currently Director of the American Language Institute. Previously, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois. He was the President of TESOL from 1980 to 1981. And, from 1970 to 1979 he was the Editor of Language Learning. Professor Brown has published many articles and books on second language acquisition and pedagogy, including Principles of Language Learning and Teaching.

Professor H. Douglas Brown, Professor of English, San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Professor Brown is currently Director of the American Language Institute. Previously, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois. He was the President of TESOL from 1980 to 1981. And, from 1970 to 1979 he was the Editor of Language Learning. Professor Brown has published many articles and books on second language acquisition and pedagogy, including Principles of Language Learning and Teaching.

Professor Richard Luecht, Professor of Educational Research Methodology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Professor Luecht is currently Director of the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation at UNCG. Prior to UNCG, he was Project Director for Computer-Adaptive Testing Research at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Previously at ACT, Inc, he conducted research on automated test assembly, computer-adaptive testing simulations and IRT estimation issues. At ACT, he also worked with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Achievement Levels Standard Setting Project. He is currently an Advisory Editor for the Journal of Education Measurement and the Computer Software Review Editor for Applied Psychological Measurement.

Professor Richard Shavelson, Professor of Education and Psychology, Stanford University

Recently Dean of the Stanford University School of Education, Dr. Shavelson has also served as president of the American Educational Research Association. Before joining Stanford, Professor Shavelson was dean of the Graduate School of Education and Professor of Statistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1987 to 1993. His recent psychometric work includes Generalizability Theory: A Primer, and research on the dependability and context representativeness of performance assessments used in education and work. His policy research includes two recent monographs on monitoring the nation's mathematics and science education.

Professor Yang Huizhong, JiaTong University, Shanghai, China

Professor Yang Huizhong currently is the Chairman of the National College English Testing Committee of China, in charge of a large scale standardized test with 4.5 million candidates each year. He is a Professor of applied linguistics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where he was Chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages between 1985 and 1990. For 12 years since 1987 he was President of All-China College English Teaching and Research Association. His areas of study are language testing, applied linguistics, and corpus linguistics. Professor Yang has published many articles and books in the area, including CET Validation Study, An Introduction to Corpus Linguistics.