Paragon Testing Enterprises

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Paragon Research Grants

March 2016

 

Purpose

Paragon 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 contribute to:

  1. the collection of validity evidence for Paragon’s tests, and
  2. the development of 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 the CELPIP-General Test and the CELPIP-General LS Test, 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:

www.celpiptest.ca
www.lpitest.ca
www.cael.ca

 

Topics of Interest

The 2016 Paragon 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. Alignments
    • Alignment of Paragon’s tests to existing language frameworks e.g., Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)
    • Linking of Paragon’s tests to other tests
  3. Test use and impact
    • Test taker perceptions and experience
    • Test score user’s needs analysis
  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 2016 Paragon 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 or research institutions and Canadian citizens (or permanent residents of Canada) affiliated with universities and research institutions abroad.

 

Financial Support

Paragon Research Grants can fund research projects up to a maximum of $30,000 CAD (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 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. upon 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’s 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 before the deadline (July 10, 2016).

 

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 (Sunday) 23:59 PST, 2016
Notification of proposal acceptance: August 29 (Monday), 2016
Research agreement: September/October 2016
Project start date: October 2016
1st Interim report due: February 17 (Friday), 2017
2nd Interim report due: June 30 (Friday), 2017
Final report due: October 31 (Tuesday), 2017