PROF Tim McNamara

PROF Tim McNamara


  • Language and citizenship
  • Language and identity
  • Language and refugee issues
  • Language testing and assessment
  • Second language learning and teaching



  • Building on a career as an EFL/ESL teacher and teacher trainer in Australia and the United Kingdom, Tim McNamara has taught Applied Linguistics at Melbourne since 1987. With Dr Terry Quinn he established the graduate program in Applied Linguistics from 1987, and with Professor Alan Davies founded the Language Testing Research Centre in 1990.  His language testing research has focused on performance assessment, theories of validity, the use of Rasch models, and the social and political meaning of language tests (he is currently researching the use of language tests in immigration and citizenship contexts, and in verifying the identities of asylum seekers). His work on language and identity has focused on the impact of poststructuralist approaches to identity and subjectivity, and he has a particular interest in the writings on language of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Tim is the author of Language Testing (OUP, 2000) and co-author (with Carsten Roever) of Language Testing: The Social Dimension (Blackwell, 2006). He is currently completing a book entitled Language and Subjectivity and (with Ute Knoch) a new book on Rasch measurement in second language assessment. Tim has acted as a consultant with Educational Testing Service, Princeton where he worked on the development of the speaking sub-test of TOEFL iBT; he was also part of the team involved in the original development of IELTS. Tim is a frequent speaker at international conferences and has served on the board of Applied Linguistics , TESOL Quarterly , Annual Review of Applied Linguistics , Language Testing , Language Assessment Quarterly , Measurement , the International Journal of Applied Linguistics and the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca .  Tim is currently President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and was Conference Chair for the 2017 conference in Portland, OR.   


Member of

  • American Association for Applied Linguistics. 2nd Vice-President and member of the Executive 2015-2019 2009 - 2019
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics. Regular member 2011 - 2016
  • Applied Linguistics Association of Australia. Regular member 1999 - 2015
  • International Language Testing Association. Regular member; former President 1999 - 2015


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1990
  • MA, University of London 1981
  • DipRSA, Royal Society of Arts (UK) 1974
  • DipEd, University of Melbourne 1972
  • BA, University of Melbourne 1970

Awards and honors

  • Distinguished Achievement Award, 2015, International Language Testing Association, 2015
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2010
  • Winner of the award for best book published in the field of language testing, 2006-2008, Sage/International Language Testing Association, 2009


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Tim has supervised 22 PhDs to successful completion, and is currently is principal supervisor for 9 PhD students. He supervises in areas of language testing research and research on language and identity, as well as in the area of second language teaching and learning.