Our History and Activities

A brief history of LLTF and its products

The story of LLTF begins in 1999.  In that year, Charles Stansfield contacted Dr. John B. Carroll about the MLAT and MLAT-E, which were no longer available from The Psychological Corporation, the original publisher.   He offered to publish them through Second Language Testing, Inc. (SLTI), a small for-profit company that Stansfield owned.  Stansfield promised that he would continue to publish them as long as he could.  Dr. Carroll agreed and contacted his second author, Dr. Stanley Sapon, who also agreed.  

Because the republication and sale of these tests was a small labor-intensive project that would likely be unprofitable, Stansfield realized that if SLTI were someday acquired by another company, publication of the MLAT would likely cease.  Therefore, in 2003, Stansfield moved to create a nonprofit 501c3 organization, Second Language Testing Foundation, and transfer the tests into it.  The original board of trustees consisted of Drs. Charles Stansfield, Daniel Reed, and Randall Felton.  Upon the latter’s death in 2016, he was replaced by Dr. Weiping Wu.  Over the next several years, Stansfield donated the funds to build up an endowment for LLTF.  That endowment and money derived from the sale of its products funds LLTF’s operating expenses.

In 2011, SLTI was acquired by Berlitz Languages Inc.  At that time, Berlitz requested that the name, Second Language Testing Foundation, be changed to avoid any confusion with SLTI.  The SLTF board met and agreed on a new name, the Language Learning and Testing Foundation (LLTF).   The name change was registered with the State of Maryland, the Internal Revenue Service and the bank that holds LLTF’s account.  From 2011 through 2014, SLTI handled the business affairs of LLTF, under a cost-plus fee contractual agreement between the two entities.  Subsequent to Stansfield’s retirement in 2014, Stansfield again assumed responsibility for the work of LLTF.  He does not receive a salary for his work.  The company uses independent contractors to fill orders, manage its website, desktop publishing, etc.

The PLAB was acquired similarly.  The test was published in 1966 by The Psychological Corporation, but it was withdrawn from their catalog in the 1990s.  The author, Dr. Paul Pimsleur, died in 1976.  In 2001, Stansfield wrote the author’s widow, Beverly Pimsleur, about permission to republish the test and permission was granted.  The test continues to be made available to teachers and researchers through LLTF. Because it does not have high stakes users, the PLAB is more freely available, as is the MLAT-Elementary, which was republished by LLTF in 2002. 

It is because of these acquistions that the MLAT, the MLAT-E and the PLAB are still available to those who need them.  Otherwise, they would be have disappeared into oblivion, like so many of the ESL and foreign language tests that were developed during the second half of the 20th century.  

In addition to answering questions, screening customers, revising test materials, filling orders and revising the website, LLTF participates in or supports a considerable number of activities in the field of language testing.   These include the following:

Support for professional meetings.

Since early in our founding, we have provided financial support to regional, national and international conferences.   Some of our activities in this realm are as follows.

ILTA.  LLTF provides financial support to the International Language Testing Association.   It is an institutional member of the organization.  We also contribute annually to ILTA in other ways.   Our president was a member of the committee that selected the individuals who received the first ILTA Advocacy/Public Engagement Award.  This award is made to an individual or group that has intervened in some way with a party or parties outside the academic language testing community (e.g. government officials, educational administrators, regulatory authorities, testing agencies) to draw attention to an instance of inappropriate or less than optimum test use in a particular context, with the goal of improving or modifying a language testing policy or practice.

In addition, our president and board members frequently attend the annual meeting of ILTA.

ECOLT.   LLTF is a founding member of the East Coast Organization of Language Testers.   Since the first annual conference in 2002, we have paid for the printing of the program books with abstracts.  Our president gave the opening plenary in that first conference.   He has remained a member of the ECOLT board of directors ever since and has presented at numerous conferences.  Several of these presentations have been on the subject of language aptitude testing.

MwALT.   LLTF has assisted the Midwest Association of Language Testers over the years in a variety of ways.  These include paying for an ad in the program book and presenting at the conference.  Our founder, board member Dr. Daniel Reed, and one of our paid consultants have all presented at the conference. Dr. Reed helped organize the 2013 MwALT Conference hosted by Michigan State University and has served as MwALT Treasurer since 2014.

LTRC The Language Testing Research Colloquium is the annual conference of ILTA.  Dr. Stansfield attended the first conference in 1979 and has attended nearly all LTRCs ever since, presenting at over half of them, and has chaired the LTRC three times.   He continues to play a role in the conference, be it in the review of abstracts, or giving a presentation.  Board of Trustees member Dr. Daniel Reed has also presented at the LTRC.

LAALTA. In 2019, our president was elected to a two-year term to the board of directors of the recently formed Latin American Association for Language Testing and Assessment (LAALTA). 

TIRF.  LLTF contributes annually to the International Research Foundation for English Language Education.  This organization provides doctoral dissertation grants for research on language policy, teaching and assessment. 

FSU Doctoral dissertation grants.  In 2020, LLTF began making doctoral dissertation grants to Ph.D. candidates Foreign and Second Language Education at Florida State University, which is Dr. Stansfield’s alma mater.

Drs. Stansfield and Reed have attended and presented at two international conferences on language aptitude.  They both review and publish articles in professional journals on the topic.