Section 1

Section Title

Stéphanie Renée Angèle Gaillard

Graduate Student

Contact Information:


I was born and grew up in the city of Bordeaux, in the southwest of France near the Atlantic Coast. During my undergraduate studies in French linguistics, I took a class on how to teach French to non-native speakers and this greatly influenced my career choice. I then obtained a Master’s degree in teaching French as a second/foreign language, and to complete it I came to the U.S. to teach at the college level. This experience abroad was so enriching that I decided to pursue my graduate studies to the Ph.D. level.   

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • I chose to specialize in language assessment, as I see a direct link between language teaching and language testing, which is a fundamental chain that has to be taken into account for an optimum learning environment. I believe that language tests should be as important as the teaching method used because they reflect the consistency with the curriculum and improve teaching (e.g., washback).
  • The rigor used in classroom assessment helps students understand their proficiency level throughout their language learning. The same rigor should also be applied in SLA research, as appropriate tests are necessary to understand language learning progression. They are also beneficial in the linguistic field for research replication and comparison.
  • My research and teaching interests are as follows: 1. Language testing (precisely designing test specifications, designing rating scales for performance assessment, the structure of validity arguments, test use, political mandates) 2. Teaching French as a foreign/second language & strategies for foreign/second language learning 3. Second Language Curriculum and Material Development 4. Research Method in SLA 5. Adult Second Language Acquisition 6. Research Design in SLA 7. French phonetics and phonology

Research Description

  • My Ph.D. research focuses on second language testing. My study specifically aims to supplement the placement tests used by the Department of French at theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by creating an aural/oral proficiency test using the Elicited Imitation Task (EIT) methodology.

    One of the main goals of this research is to create a validity report in which thetest under development for this dissertation (the EIT) will provide evidence ofvalidity, reliability, and practicality as a supplemental assessment tool that can measure French global proficiency for both classroom placement and research purposes.

    The results from my study will illustrate the use the interpretive argument in the test validity paradigm applied to a low stake exam (the EIT) in both research settings and classroom placement. It will also make a valuable contribution to extend the scholarly bridge that Bachman and Cohen started in 1998 between these two fields of research (i.e., Language Testing and Second Language Acquisition). Moreover, it is hoped that this dissertation will encourage moreinterdisciplinary work in the future, not only between language testers and SLAscholars, but also between language testers and language instructors.


  • 2009- Present Ph.D. Candidate, French SLATE program, specializing in language assessment, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Expected Graduation Date: May 2014
  • 2008 Master of Arts in Teaching French as a Foreign/Second Language (University of Bordeaux, France)
  • 2005 Bachelor’s Degree in French Linguistics (University of Bordeaux, France)

Distinctions / Awards

  • Summer 2013 Knudson and McPherson fellowship, Department of French, UIUC
  • Spring 2013 British Council Assessment Research Award
  • Spring 2013 Course-Release Fellowship, Department of French, UIUC
  • Spring 2012 K. A. Looney Award for Excellence in Teaching in the senior category, Department of French, UIUC
  • Fall 2012 Best Paper Presentation Award at the 14th Midwest Association of Language Testers (MwALT) conference
  • Fall 2012 Departmental Graduate Student Travel Grant, Department of French, UIUC
  • Summer 2011 Workshop on Elicited Imitation Task & Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment funded by the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics (SLCL), UIUC
  • 2010 - 2012 On the list of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students – UIUC (Fall 2012, Summer 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2010)
  • 2008 - 2009 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Fulbright Scholarship