The Innovation in Assessment prize is designed to complement the existing British Council ELTons awards and celebrates innovation in the area of language testing and assessment. The winner will receive £1,000. The Innovation in Assessment Prize will be made to an individual or organisation for innovation in any of the following areas:

  • Innovative practices in test delivery 
  • Innovative practices in test administration
  • Technical innovation in scoring or delivery
  • Innovative item or task development
  • Innovative application of applied linguistics or second language acquisition research to language assessment

Nominations will be judged by a panel of language assessment experts.


 4 February 2019  Applications and/or nominations close
 February 2019  Preliminary review of applications/nominations
 March 2019  Evaluation and selection of prize winner(s)
 April 2019  Prize winner(s) announced


Dr. Sarah Ebling, Dr. Penny Boyes Braem, Katja Tissi, Sandra Sidler-Miserez, and Prof. Dr. Tobias Haug, University of Applied Science of Special Needs Education (HfH), Switzerland for developing an automatic sign language recognition system for Swiss German Sign Language (DSGS) vocabulary assessment, as part of the Swiss National Science Foundation project SMILE.

The SMILE sign language recognition system is being developed to automatically recognise the form of isolated signs produced by second language learners and to provide immediate feedback about whether the sign has been produced correctly. The goal is for L2 learners of DSGS to be able to remotely use the system in a self-assessment scenario of newly learned DSGS signs, also including more detailed feedback about which manual components have been produced incorrectly.


No award presented.


Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, for their approach to developing an assessment instrument, the Test of English Communication Skills for graduating students (UTM-TECS), which measures university graduates’ readiness to communicate in English in the workplace. The tasks and assessment criteria of the test were derived from and developed through collaboration with industries at various stages of the test development and implementation including the validation and revision phases.


Ricky Jeffrey (Centre for English Language Education, University of Nottingham Ningbo China).

The innovation is a new, more practical method of developing rating scales. The ‘feedback content analysis’ method recycles rater-to-student feedback comments as ‘rater observation’ data for use in creating improved rating scale verbal descriptors.


Daniel Xerri, Patricia Vella Briffa, Joseph Gerardi, Odette Vassallo, Andrew Farrugia and Clyde Borg (Department of English, University of Malta Junior College).

The team developed and implemented the Advanced English Speaking Examination. For the first time ever, postsecondary students in Malta can be assessed on their speaking skills


Carol Spöttl, Kathrin Eberharter and Doris Frötscher (University of Innsbruck, Austria).

The team developed real-time marker support for national high-stakes school-leaving examinations.