Paragon Research Grants

Purpose

Paragon Testing Research Grants are intended to nurture research relationships between Paragon’s Test Research and Development unit and experts in the field of measurement and language assessment. The purpose of the collaboration is to:

  1. contribute additional validity evidence for Paragon’s tests, and
  2. investigate new methods, approaches, and concepts that can advance the field of measurement and language assessment.

Paragon’s tests include the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) which consists of CELPIP-General and CELPIP-General LS, the Language Proficiency Index (LPI), and the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment. For more information about these tests, please refer to the following websites:

CELPIP-General and CELPIP-General LS:

https://www.celpip.ca/

LPI:

https://www.lpitest.ca/

CAEL:

https://www.cael.ca/

Topics of Interest

The 2017-18 Paragon Testing Research Grants encourage project submissions in the following areas:

  1. Constructs
    • Test-takers’ cognitive processes (e.g., test-taking processes in reading/listening tests, composing processes in writing tests)
    • Corpus-based analysis of test responses
  2. Task characteristics and test-takers’ performance
    • Integrated speaking and/or writing tasks
    • Comparability of tasks
    • Correspondence between test performance and real-life performance
  3. Test use and impact
    • Test stakeholders’ perceptions and experience
    • Utility of Paragon tests for their intended uses
    • Tracking studies of test takers in the target language use context
  4. Application of complex psychometric models to solve language assessment issues.

While the above-mentioned areas of research are encouraged, researchers with innovative, well-planned proposals in other areas remain eligible for the 2017-18 Paragon Testing Research Grants.

Eligibility of Applicants

Faculty members and research scientists at universities and research institutes are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to researchers affiliated with Canadian universities/institutes and Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada affiliated with universities/institutes abroad.

Financial Support

Paragon Testing Research Grants fund research projects up to a maximum of $30,000CAD (including institutional overhead). Paragon will not consider projects that involve substantial travel costs, funded release from academic and teaching commitments, stipends to the primary investigator, or the purchase of expensive equipment.

Projects will be funded for a period of one year and should be completed within that one-year period. The disbursement of Paragon Testing Research Grants will be made in three stages with each disbursement depending on the achievement of the following project benchmarks:

  1. after receipt of the signed project agreement and, if necessary, research ethics clearance;
  2. after the submission of the first interim report; and
  3. after receipt and acceptance of the final report.

Application Requirements

To apply for this grant, the primary investigators need to provide their CVs and a research proposal of 2,000 to 2,500 words (not including tables, figures, and references). Proposals should follow APA style and researchers’ names should be on the cover page only.

The proposals must include the following:
1. purpose of the research and its relevance to Paragon tests,
2. rationale and significance of the project,
3. research questions,
4. methodology,
5. timeline,
6. budget, and
7. a declaration of other sources of funding.

CVs and research proposals should be emailed to research@paragontesting.ca with “Paragon Testing Research Grants 2017-18” in the subject line before the deadline (July 10, 2017).

Deliverables

Prior to the commencement of research work and the release of the first stage of funding, each researcher will provide the following:
1. a contract written by Paragon, signed by the researchers, and approved by the researchers’ institutions; and
2. ethics clearance, if required, from the researchers’ institutions.

At each pre-determined date or benchmark of the research project (please refer to the timeline for details), the researchers will provide a brief interim report of about 1,000 words that states the current status of research work and a brief account of costs incurred.

Upon completion of the research project, the researchers will provide:
1. a full project report describing the research purpose, methods, and outcomes;
2. a list of planned conference presentations and publications based on this project; and
3. a complete summary of expenses.

The final project report should be about 7,000 to 9,000 words (excluding tables, figures, references, and appendices). The quality of the final report will be evaluated by the research committee at Paragon. Accepted reports will be made available on the Paragon website as working papers.

Access to Paragon Data

Data provision will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In general, researchers can be given access to: (1) anonymized test data with demographic information, and (2) a limited amount of retired materials, and (3) test practice materials.

All researchers will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of the research agreement.

Evaluation Criteria

The research proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. relevance of the proposal to the identified topics;
  2. clarity of the research proposal’s rationale, purpose, and methodology;
  3. contribution to the development of language assessment or measurement expertise;
  4. potential for publication;
  5. qualifications and experience of the researchers;
  6. feasibility of the budget; and
  7. likelihood of completion in one year.

Timelines

Proposal due: July 10 (Monday), 23:59 PST, 2017
Notification of proposal acceptance: September 1 (Friday), 2017
Research agreement: September/October 2017
Project start date: October 2017
1st Interim report due: February 16 (Friday), 2018
2nd Interim report due: June 29 (Friday), 2018
Final report due: October 31 (Wednesday), 2018

See Paragon’s Research Grant Recipients for 2017/8.