Director of Test Content Development, Assessment and Curriculum Development

American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 13

Position description

The Director of Test Content Development directs the development, delivery and evaluation of proficiency-based second language assessments for multiple languages and programs. These assessments include college credit and placement tests such as the National Examination in World Language (NEWL®) and client programs requiring high-stakes proficiency assessments for advanced-level language and culture immersion programs. These programs, which are often small in class size, train in the less-commonly taught languages of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. The Director provides leadership to a team of in-house staff, cross-functional partners and external language consultants to ensure that all assessments meet professional standards and are administered efficiently.



  • Recruit and develop in-house support staff for managing the item writing process, including the work of external resources (item writers, editors and language experts), payments, workshop logistics, tracking and deadlines. Set up and maintain professional development plans for in-house staff.
  • Recruit external language consultants for the target languages as needed for the development and review of test items and forms.
  • Plan and provide training to ensure that all resources engaged in item development (item writers, editors and language experts) have feedback and information needed to ensure that all work meets its required standards.
  • Network with professional associations and organizations.
  • Develop and maintain an internship program. 
  • Cross-train staff in areas including proficiency assessment, language education and program management, as requested. 


  • Develop item and exam development procedures that produce all test deliverables within deadlines and budget constraints.
  • Upgrade procedures as needed to address changing priorities.
  • Ensure compliance with ASTM F2889, “Standard Practice for Assessing Language Proficiency”.
  • Document the test development framework for all assessments.
  • Document all procedural requirements for external consultants; maintain and publish “Manual of Procedures for Item Writers and Reviewers”.
  • Create an item QC process that ensures exam quality, including bias and fairness reviews and alignment to standards. Assign responsibilities for the QC process and oversee performance of these resources. 
  • Participate in item data reviews as available. 


  • Support the development of grant proposals. 
  • Develop and manage projects within budget.
  • Determine resource use parameters of existing work and use these data to estimate the cost of future work.


  • Collaborate with other functional teams (i.e. psychometrics, IT) in the department to develop optimal requirements specifications and timelines.
  • Partner with the psychometrics team for test form construction meeting both content and psychometric constraints.
  • Work with psychometricians and external consultants to analyze statistical data to monitor test item and exam performance.
  • Partner with IT on user feedback, suggestions for upgrades and their rollout.
  • Provide integral input to assessment development schedules, staff, budget and tools (i.e. statistical reporting and IT system upgrades). 


  • Represent the department and the organization at professional meetings; give presentations and/or participate in workshops in the field. 
  • Keep abreast of current literature and research in foreign language assessment, online assessment, and internet based learning, and contribute to the evaluation of current and prospective projects or proposals.
  • Provide cooperative leadership in working with staff, consultants and cross-functional partners.


  • Maintain responsibility for workshops and correspondence for item writers and teachers. 
  • Serve as liaison to all in-house program staff to ensure that exams delivered meet their needs and expectations and make adjustments as needed.
  • Respond to emerging priorities as directed by senior management, and special requests from program directors and clients.


  • Advanced degree in linguistics; Ph.D. preferred.
  • Advanced or higher proficiency in English and in one or more of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.
  • Experience in developing assessments of second language proficiency.
  • Management experience.
  • Proven effectiveness in a diverse work environment. 
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.

Application instructions

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