Professor Barry O’Sullivan

Professor Barry O’Sullivan is currently working with the British Council in London as Head of Assessment Research & Development. His recent work includes the design, development and validation of a placement test to be used by the British in their centres across the world and the design, development and validation of a new business to business language test called Aptis.

Barry is particularly interested in issues related to performance testing, test validation, test-data management and analysis and scaling and calibration; he has conducted research into factors affecting spoken performance, assessing rater behaviour, assessing speaking and writing, specific purpose assessment, benchmarking English language tests to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and standard setting in professional contexts.

Barry’s publications have appeared in a number of international journals and he has presented his work at international conferences around the world. ‘Issues in Business English Testing’, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006; ‘Modelling Performance in Oral Language Testing’ was published by Peter Lang in 2008; ‘Language Testing: Theories and Practices’ was published by in 2011 and ‘The Cambridge Guide to Language Assessment’ (with C. Coombe, P. Davidson, and S. Stoynoff, eds. ) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. He is currently working (with C. Weir) on a major project documenting a history of language testing within the British Council.

In addition to his work in the area of language testing, Barry has taught in Ireland, England, Peru and Japan.