Karen Dunn headshot

Dr Karen Dunn, Senior Researcher: Measurement & Evaluation

Karen’s role involves developing the British Council's language testing and assessment research focus to provide high quality analysis for specialised interest groups. She also carries out work evaluating the functioning of new and established tests across the Aptis suite, and is also involved with on-going work in producing and refining the annual operating report. Karen is a series co-editor for the British Council Monographs on Modern Language Testing. 

In addition, Karen contributes to a range of British Council research projects with a language testing focus, such as English Impact and knowledge-based vocabulary lists (KVL) studies. Karen has been involved with item analysis of Aptis test items, and British Council research in conjunction with international organisations, such as the Rwandan Ministry of Education and the Pratham-ASER Centre in India.

Areas of expertise

  • Item Response Theory 
  • Explanatory Item Response Theory 
  • Factor Analysis
  • Latent Variable Mixture Modelling


Dunn, K. J., & Iwaniec, J. (2022). Exploring the relationship between second language learning motivation and proficiency: A latent profiling approach. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 44(4), 967-997. doi:10.1017/S0272263121000759

Schmitt, N., Dunn, K. J., O’Sullivan, B., Antony, L., & Kremmel, B. (2021). Introducing knowledge-based vocabulary lists. TESOL Journal. doi:10.1002/tesj.622

Iwaniec, J. and Dunn, K. (2021). Measuring motivation. In P. Winke, & T. Brunfaut (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and language testing (pp. 157-166). Routledge.

Dunn, K. J., & McCray, G. (2020). The place of the bifactor model in confirmatory factor analysis investigations into construct dimensionality in language testing. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01357

O’Sullivan, B., Dunlea, J., Spiby, R., Westbrook, C., & Dunn, K., (2020). Aptis General Technical Manual Version 2.2. British Council. 

O’Sullivan, B., Berry, V., & Dunn, K. (2019). Test preparation: An international comparison of test takers’ preferences. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 28(1), 13-36. doi:10.1080/0969594X.2019.1637820

Dunlea, J., & Dunn, K. (2013). English language learning outcomes at the primary school level in rural India: Taking a fresh look at the data from the Annual Status of Education Report. In V. Berry (Ed.), English Impact Report: Investigating English language learning outcomes at the primary school level in rural India (pp. 33-68). British Council. 


  • PhD, Applied Social Statistics, Lancaster University, 2013
  • MRes, Applied Social Statistics, Lancaster University, 2009
  • MA, Language Studies, Lancaster University, 2008 
  • BA (Hons), English Literature with Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1999