Professor Chris Davison

Professor of Language and Literacy Education

BA (Hons) Dip Ed MEd (Melb) BEd (TESOL) PhD (La Trobe)

School of Education


+61 2 9385 1987
125B Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators, Education Assessment and Evaluation, LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori)

Professor Chris Davison, a specialist in language education and school-based assessment, is Professor of Language and Literacy Education in the School of Education, University of New South Wales (UNSW). She was Head of the School for more than 10 years (2008-2019), and before that Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong (1999-2008). She has worked in teacher education, including at Melbourne and La Trobe University, for over 35 years, and before that, as an English and ESL teacher and consultant in primary and secondary schools, English language centres and the adult and community education sector in Australia and overseas. Chris has researched and published extensively on the interface between English as a mother tongue and ESL development, integrating language and content curriculum, and English language assessment, in leading international journals including TESOL Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, Language Assessment Quarterly, Language Testing and Linguistics and Education. Her books include a two volume handbook of teaching English internationally (Springer, with Jim Cummins) and a co-authored book on English language teaching innovation in China (HKU Press, with Xinmin Zheng). She is founding co-editor (with Andy Gao) of the Springer book series on English Language Education. With colleagues at the University of Hong Kong, Chris has completed the research and development of a range of oral school-based assessment initiatives for the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, and also worked over a number of years with the Ministries of Education in Singapore and in Brunei on integrating assessment for learning into their new curricula. She has just completed a multimillion dollar project researching and developing an online assessment resource centre for assessing and teaching EAL learners in Victorian schools, funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET), Catholic Education and Independent Schools Victoria. She has conducted many in-service programs and consultancies with educational systems in the Asian region, including Singapore, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and China. Chris has been actively involved in an extensive range professional associations and community organizations throughout her career, including undertaking stints as President of the Australian Council of TESOL Association, Chair of the Australian Literacy Federation, Chair of the TESOL International Research Committee and most recently, Chair of the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Initial Teacher Education Committee and President of the NSW Council of Deans of Education. She is currently a member of the ALAA Executive and a former Editor in Chief of the Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Chris is recipient of a number of awards, most recently for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education and to TESOL, awarded by the Australian Council of Deans of Education in 2016, the Ralph Rawlinson Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Education of Students with Disadvantage at the International Level in 2017, and the Dean's Research Leadership Award and ARC Outstanding Supervisor Award in 2018.



    • Zheng X;Davison C, 2008, Changing Pedagogy Analysing ELT Teachers in China, Original, Continuum International Publishg Group, New York
    • Davison C, (ed.), 2005, Information Technology And Innovation In Language Education, Original, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong

    Book Chapters

    • Leung C;Davison C;East M;Evans M;Liu Y;Hamp-Lyons L;Purpura JE, 2018, 'Using assessment to promote learning: Clarifying constructs, theories, and practices', in Useful Assessment and Evaluation in Language Education, pp. 75 - 91
    • Davison C;Ollerhead S, 2018, 'But I’m not an English teacher! Disciplinary literacy in Australian science classrooms.', in Tang K-S; Danielsson K (ed.), Global developments in literacy research for science education, edn. 1, Springer International Publishing,
    • Davison CM, 2015, 'Collaboration between English language and content teachers: Breaking the boundaries', in Tajino A; Stewart T; Dalsky D (ed.), Team Teaching and Team Learning: Collaboration for Innovation in Language Classrooms, Routledge, New York, pp. 51 - 66,
    • Davison C, 2013, 'Innovation in assessment: common misconceptions and problems', in Hyland K; Wong LLC (ed.), Innovation and change in English language education, edn. 1, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 263 - 275
    • Davison C;Hamp-lyons L, 2010, 'The Hong Kong Certificate of Education: School-based assessment reform in Hong Kong English language education', in Cheng L; Curtis A (ed.), English Language Assessment and the Chinese Learner, edn. Original, Routledge, New York, pp. 248 - 264
    • Davison C;Adamson B, 2008, 'English language teaching in Hong Kong primary schools: Innovation and resistance', in Murray DE (ed.), Planning Change, Changing Plans: Innovations in Second Language Teaching, edn. Original, The University of Michigan Press, USA, pp. 11 - 25
    • Davison C, 2007, 'Different definitions of language and language learning : Implications for assessment', in Cummins J; Davison C (ed.), International Handbook of English language teaching, Vol. 1, edn. Original, Springer, Norwell, MA, pp. 533 - 548
    • Davison C;Adamson B, 2007, 'English language teaching in Hong Kong primary schools: Innovation and resistance', in Murray D (ed.), International Handbook of English language teaching, Vol. 1, edn. Original, The University of Michigan Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, pp. 11 - 25
    • Davison C, 2005, 'Information technology and innovation in language education', in Davison C (ed.), Information Technology And Innovation In Language Education, edn. Original, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 3 - 20
    • Davison C, 2005, 'The standards solution? The role of standards in developing IT professional competencies and communities of practice in English language teaching', in Davison C (ed.), Information Technology And Innovation In Language Education, edn. Original, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 255 - 284
    • Hurst D;Davison C, 2005, 'Collaboration on the curriculum: Focus on secondary ESL', in Crandall J; Kauffman D (ed.), Case Studies in TESOL: Teacher education for ESL and content area teachers, edn. Original, TESOL, Alexandria, pp. 41 - 66

    Journal articles

    • Alonzo D;Mirriahi N;Davison C, 2019, 'The standards for academics’ standards-based assessment practices', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 44, pp. 636 - 652,
    • Gan Z;Oon EP T;Davison C, 2017, 'ESL students’ oral performance in English language school-based assessment: results of an empirical study', Language Testing in Asia, vol. 7,
    • Davison C;Gleeson M, 2016, 'A Conflict between Experience and Professional Learning: Subject Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching English Language Learners', RELC Journal: a journal of language teaching and research in Southeast Asia, vol. 47, pp. 43 - 57,
    • Davison C;Michell M, 2014, 'EAL assessment: What do Australian teachers want?', TESOL in Context, vol. 24, pp. 51 - 72,;dn=949508765515560;res=IELAPA
    • Gan Z;Davison C, 2011, 'Gestural behavior in group oral assessment: A case study of higher- and lower-scoring students', International Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 21, pp. 94 - 120,
    • Davison C;Leung C, 2009, 'Current issues in english language teacher-based assessment', TESOL Quarterly, vol. 43, pp. 393 - 415,
    • Davison C;Hamp-Lyons L;Gan Z, 2009, 'Topic Negotiation in Peer Group Oral Assessment Situations: A Conversation Analytic Approach', Applied Linguistics, vol. 30, pp. 315 - 334,
    • Davison C;Arkoudis S, 2008, 'Chinese Students Perspectives on their social, cognitive, and linguistic investment in English medium interaction', Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, vol. 1, pp. 3 - 8
    • Davison C;Trent J, 2007, 'Contradictory discourses: Learning and teaching in and through English in an English-medium university in Asia', Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen (FLuL) on Fremdsprache als Arbeitssprache in Schule und Universitat [Using a foreign language as a working language in secondary and tertiary education], vol. 36
    • Davison C;Lai WY W A, 2007, 'Competing identities, common issues: Teaching (in) Putonghua', Language Policy, vol. 6, pp. 119 - 134,
    • Davison C, 2007, 'Views from the chalkface: School-based assessment in Hong Kong', Language Assessment Quarterly: an international journal, vol. 4, pp. 1 - 32
    • Davison C, 2006, 'Collaboration between ESL and content teachers: A developmental continuum', International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, vol. 9, pp. 454 - 475
    • Davison C, 2005, 'Learning your lines: Negotiating language and content in subject English', Linguistics and Education, vol. 16, pp. 219 - 237
    • Davison C, 2004, 'The contradictory culture of classroom-based assessment: Teacher assessment practices in senior secondary English', Language Testing, vol. 21, pp. 305 - 334,
    • Adamson B;Davison C, 2003, 'Innovation in English language teaching in Hong Kong primary schools: One step forwards, two steps sideways?', Prospect, vol. 18, pp. 27 - 41
    • Davison C;McKay P, 2002, 'Counting and discounting learner group variation: English language and literacy standards in Australia', Journal of Asian-Pacific Communication., vol. 12, pp. 77 - 94
    • Davison C, 1999, 'Missing the mark: The problem with benchmarking ESL in Australian schools', Prospect -Adelaide-, vol. 14, pp. 56 - 76
    • Davison C, 1996, 'The multiple meanings of "literacy" in the TESOL and adult literacy professions: Problems of perspective?', Prospect -Adelaide-, vol. 11, pp. 47 - 57
    • Davison C, 1993, 'National statement on english for australian schools / English profiles and english as a second language (ESL): The tension between commonality and diversity', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 13, pp. 62 - 64
    • Davison C, 1992, 'Integrating ESL into the mainstream: Australian perspectives', Multicultural Teaching, vol. 11, pp. 45 - 40

    Edited Books

    • 2007, International Handbook of English language teaching, Vol. 2, Springer, Norwell, MA
    • 2007, International Handbook of English language teaching, Vol. 1, Springer, Norwell, MA

Engagement and Professional contributions

Membership of relevant professional bodies and any office held

2012- Vice-President, NSW Council of Deans of Education
2008- Member, Australian Council of Deans of Education
2006-09 Chair Elect (2006-07) and Chair (2007-08), Research Committee, TESOL International.
2003-06 Member, Standards Committee, TESOL International.
2003-05 Member, International Research Agenda Task Force, TESOL International.
2003-05 Chair Elect and Chair, Research Interest Section, TESOL International.
1986-99 Committee member, Victorian Association of TESOL and Multicultural Education (VATME).
1992 Chairperson, Australian Literacy Federation (ALF).
1988-91 President, Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA).

Consultancies and community service
2011 - Member, International Advisory Panel, English Language Institute , Singapore
2009- International Consultant, Ministry of Education, Brunei.
2007-09 International Consultant, Ministry of Education, Singapore
2007-08 Member, Working Party on School-based Assessment for new Diploma of Secondary Education, Curriculum Development Institute/Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority
2004 Member, Awards for Excellence in English Language Teaching, Quality Education Fund, Hong Kong.
2003-08 Member, Committee on Standards-referenced CE English Language Examination, Curriculum Development Institute/Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.
2002-08 Member, English Language Committee, Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.
2006 International Expert Reviewer, VCE Study Design, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Australia.
1999 Board Member, Language Australia (formerly the National Language and Literacy Institute of Australia)
Member, Ministerial Advisory Committee on LOTE and ESL, Victoria, Australia
1993-94 Independent ESL Expert, DEET Tendered Labor Market Programs, Australia.
1992 Chair, ESL Strand, Special Follow-Up Conference on Teacher Education for Literacy, DEET/Australian Language and Literacy Council.
1991 Member, National Review of ELICOS Teacher Qualifications, National ELICOS Accreditation Scheme.
Member, National Review of AMEP Tendering, Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (DILGEA).
Member, Steering Committee, National Coordinating Agency for the Training of Adult literacy Personnel in Australia (CATALPA)
1991-99 Member, Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Year 12 English (ESL) External Examination Panel and Year 12 English (ESL) assessor
1990 Member, Special Advisory Group of Distinguished Academics and
Literacy Specialists for the Minister for Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET) and the Australian Language and Literacy Policy Task Force.
1989 Member, ESL Reference Group, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board (VCAB).
Advisor, State Board Literacy Strategy, Victoria, Australia
1987-90 Examiner and Marker, VCE Year 12 Alternative English (ESL), Victoria, Australia
1985-88 Member, TESL Curriculum Committee, Ministry of Education, Victoria.
2003 ESL Consultant, Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates.
1999-03 ESL Consultant, East Asian Regional Council of Overseas Schools
1995-9 Member, Advisory Group, Victorian Directorate of School Education ESL Course Advice for the Curriculum and Standards Framework.
1994-9 Advisor, Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority, England
1994 Critical Friend, Review of Research and Scholarly Literature - Schools Sector, Australian Language and Literacy Council; Member, Steering Committee, DEET Project on the Assessment and Moderation of Adult Language and Literacy Students in DEET-funded Labour Market Programs; Member, Advisory Committee, National Reporting Mechanism on Adult English Language, Literacy and Numeracy, Australian National Training Authority/ACTRAC.
1993 Member, Steering Committee, DEET Project on the Registration and Accreditation of Adult Language and Literacy Courses and Providers in DEET-funded Labour Market Programs; Critical Friend, National Framework of Adult English Language, Literacy and Numeracy Competencies, ACTRAC; Member, Advisory Group, Victorian ESL Scales, Directorate of School Education.
1992-94 Member, Steering Committee, Language and Literacy Schools: ESL Development Research Project, National Languages and Literacy Institute of Australia.
1991 Advisor, New Arrivals Curriculum Project, Ministry of Education and Training (Victoria); Member, Steering Committee, Coordinating Agency for the Training of Adult literacy Personnel in Australia (CATALPA)

Editing of professional or academic journals
2007-08 Guest Editor, Special Issue of TESOL Quarterly (with Prof C Leung)
2005-07 Guest Editor, Special Issue of Journal of Asian-Pacific Communication (with Dr S Arkoudis)
2007-09 Member, Editorial Board, CamTESOL (Journal of TESOL Cambodia)
2006- 09 Member, Editorial Board, Asian Journal of English Language Teaching
2003-09 Member, Editorial Board, Assessing Writing
2003- 09 Member, Editorial Board, Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics
2002-09 Member, Editorial Board, Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
2000-01 Member, Editorial Board, TESOL Journal (Journal of TESOL International)
1999-04 Member, Editorial Advisory Board, TESOL in Context
1993 Guest Editor, TESOL in Context, Vol. 3, No. 1.
1990-95 Member, Editorial Sub-Committee, TESOL in Context

Recent external reviewing for competitive research grants, academic awards and prizes
2009- Research Council, of Canada
2004- Research Grants Council, Hong Kong
2003-07 Judge (& Chair 2004, 2007), Distinguished Researcher Award, TESOL
2000 Judge, British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Book Prize 2000

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