Prestigious global award for School of Education academic

Glenn Fulcher, Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Assessment in the University of Leicester’s School of Education, is the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Messick Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to validation theory. 

The Messick Memorial Award, honouring Samuel J Messick’s ground-breaking work in educational assessment, is bestowed by the Educational Testing Service (Princeton University, USA) to an academic who has made a significant contribution to the field.

Validation theory is the study of how inferences can be drawn from scores on assessments (as summaries of complex performance and knowledge) to likely future real-world performance in specified domains. Professor Fulcher’s contribution to the theory includes theorising and developing methods for retro-fitting assessments to new purposes, which he developed with Fred Davidson of the University of Illinois. The work won the 2011 International Language Testing Award for a significant conceptual contribution to the field of assessment. 

Professor Chris Wilkins, Head of the School of Education, said:

“I am delighted with this richly-deserved recognition of Professor Fulcher’s status as a world-leading authority on Educational Testing.  Glenn’s work has had a profound influence on our understanding of language assessment theory and practice. The School of Education are immensely proud of his achievements and we celebrate with him today.”

Professor Fulcher will receive his award at an annual testing and assessment conference in June 2021.

In his acceptance lecture, he will outline his approach to validity, which is termed “effect-driven testing”: the approach utilises classic Pragmatism derived from the philosophy of CS Peirce to integrate value considerations to assessment design and use, which is a development of Messick’s ground-breaking work on consequential validity.  

Professor Fulcher said:

"It is a huge honour to have been awarded the Messick Memorial Award this year, and to join the ranks of those who have previously been acknowledged in this way for their contributions to validity theory and practice in educational assessment. Samuel Messick’s thinking has had a profound impact on my own work in language testing and particularly to the formulation of effect-driven assessment design. While my contribution may be just a footnote to Messick, I’m delighted that the field should consider it to be an important one, and to have recognised it in this way."

Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities added:

"I’m delighted to see Glenn’s work recognised by this prestigious award. This is testament to his work over the course of his career and we, in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, are immensely proud that Glenn’s contribution to the field has been recognised internationally. We look forward to his acceptance lecture in June."

Professor Fulcher's 2015 book, Re-examining Language Testing: A Philosophical and Social Inquiry, on the philosophical underpinnings and social implications of assessment, the nature of constructs and the meaning of number in social science research, has also seen success, winning the 2016 SAGE/ILTA (SAGE/International Language Testing Association) award for its substantial impact on assessment theory and practice.