ETS Japan




Dr. John M. Norris

Dr. John M. Norris

John Norris is a Principal Research Scientist at ETS Japan, where he conducts research and outreach related to language teaching, learning, and assessment. From 2016-2022 he was Senior Research Director of the Center for Language Education and Assessment Research at Educational Testing Service in the US. Prior to joining ETS, he was a professor at Georgetown University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and assessment specialist at Northern Arizona University. He began his career as an English teacher in Brazil, and he completed his Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Hawai‘i. John’s research focuses on language education (task-based language teaching), assessment, program evaluation, and research methods. His most recent book publication is “Assessing academic English for higher education admissions”, winner of the Sage/ILTA best book on language testing in 2022. John speaks German, Portuguese, and Spanish, and he is currently acquiring Japanese.

Welcome to the research web page for ETS Japan! As a research scientist based in Japan, my goal is to help promote meaningful, ethical, and useful language assessment and to improve language teaching and learning. Through research I hope to generate and share evidence that will lead to more trustworthy and impactful uses of language tests, and to innovations in language education. This website will feature research reports and presentations, announcements about upcoming events, and a variety of other resources intended to support language assessment users and language educators. I welcome collaborations with anyone interested in these topics here in Japan and across the broader Asia-Pacific region, as well as worldwide. Please do not hesitate to contact us at ETS Japan to discuss related ideas and opportunities.

Recent video presentations by John Norris

These presentations are intended to provide teachers and others with practical information on language teaching and assessment innovations with task-based principles and practices.





Task-Based Language Teaching

Task-Based Language Assessment

Recent publications by John Norris

Research Memorandum

Lixiong Gu., Shuhong Li., Tongyun Li, & Norris, J. M. (2023). Maintaining Score Quality on the Enhanced TOEFL iBT® Test.

Larry Davis., & Norris, J. M. (2023). A Comparison of Two TOEFL® Writing Tasks.

Jeremy Lee., & Norris, J. M. (2023). The Effectiveness of the TOEFL® Essentials™ Test for Distinguishing English Proficiency Levels.

Designing TBLT programs, curriculum, teaching, and tasks

Norris, J. M., & Sasayama, S. (2021). TOEFL Teaching Framework: Guidelines for planning English language lessons and courses, TOEFL iBT edition. Educational Testing Service.

Norris, J. M., & Davis, J. McE. (2021). Evaluating task-based language programs. In M. Ahmadian & M. Long (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of task-based language teaching (pp. 529-548). Cambridge University Press.

Malicka, A., Gilabert, R., & Norris, J. M. (2019). From needs analysis to task design: Insights from an English for Academic Purposes context. Language Teaching Research, 23(1), 78—106. DOI: 10.1177/1362168817714278.

Sasayama, S., & Norris, J. M. (2019). Unravelling cognitive task complexity: Learning from learners’ perspectives on task characteristics and second language performance. In Z. Wen & M. Ahmadian (Eds.), Researching second language task performance and pedagogy: Essays in honor of Peter Skehan (pp. 95-132). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Norris, J. M., Davis, J., & Timpe-Laughlin, V. (2017). Second language educational experiences for adult learners. Routledge.

Task-based language assessment

Norris, J. M., Sasayama, S., & Kim, M. (2023). Simulating real-world context in an e-mail writing task: Implications for task-based language assessment. ETS Research Report (ETS RR 23-05). Educational Testing Service.

Sasayama, S., & Norris, J. M. (2023). Designing speaking tasks for different assessment goals: The complex relationship between cognitive task complexity, language performance, and task accomplishment. Task, 2(2), 184-217.

Norris, J. M., & East, M. (2021). Task-based language assessment. In M. Ahmadian & M. Long (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of task-based language teaching (pp. 505-528). Cambridge University Press.

Sasayama, S., Garcia-Gomez, P., & Norris, J. M. (2021). Designing efficient L2 writing assessment tasks for low-proficiency learners of English. TOEFL Research Report RR-97. Educational Testing Service.

Xi, X., & Norris, J. M. (Eds.). (2021). Assessing academic English for higher education admissions. Routledge. [Winner of the Sage/ILTA best book on language testing award, 2021]

Norris, J. M. (2018). Task-based language assessment: Aligning designs with intended uses and consequences. JLTA Journal, 21, 3-20.

Technology and  language assessment

Davis, L., Norris, J. M., Papageorgiou, S., & Sasayama, S. (2023). Balancing construct coverage and efficiency: Test design, security, and validation considerations for a remote-proctored online language test. In K. Sadeghi & D. Douglas (Eds.), Fundamental Considerations in Technology Mediated Language Assessment (pp. 49-63). Routledge.