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CAL’s Mission
Improving communication through better understanding of language and culture.

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Assessment Expertise
Learn more about CAL’s Assessment Expertise.

About CAL

The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is a private nonprofit organization established in 1959 and headquartered in Washington DC. For over 50 years, CAL has conducted research and developed practical resources designed to promote language learning and an understanding of cultural diversity.

CAL has earned a national and international reputation for its contributions to the fields of bilingual and dual language education; English as a Second Language, literacy, and world language education; dialect studies, language policy; refugee and immigrant integration; and the education of linguistically and culturally diverse adults and children. CAL is widely known for its development of well-crafted assessments that provide valid, reliable, and relevant information about student progress and for conducting research designed to improve the education of language learners and inform teacher practice.

Core Activities

Conducting research on issues related to language and culture

Promoting and improving the teaching and learning of languages

Identifying and solving problems related to language and culture

Serving as a resource for information about language and culture

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Meet the CAL-WIDA Activities Team

Leadership Team

Dorry Kenyon picture

Dorry Kenyon, Ph.D. is a Vice-President at the Center for Applied Linguistics where he directs a variety of projects related to the assessment of the English language and foreign language skills of language learners spanning the ages of pre-school to adult. He also serves as CAL's chief psychometrician and the leader of CAL's Quantitative Research Team.

David MacGregor picture

David MacGregor, Ph.D. is the manager of the Academic Language Testing Research and Development Team at CAL. In that capacity he serves as the Associate Manager for Psychometrics and Research for ACCESS for ELLs. He has over ten years of experience at CAL working on test development and analysis and he serves on the WIDA Research Subcommittee. He also has over ten years of experience teaching ESL and EFL. David has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago, an M.A. T. in English as a Second Language and Spanish from the School of International Training, and a Ph. D. in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Jennifer Norton picture

Jennifer Norton, Ed.D. is the Associate Manager for Test Development for ACCESS for ELLs. In addition to her experience at CAL in K-12 language assessment, Jennifer has taught elementary school, adult literacy, and adult ESL. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. Jennifer holds a B.S. in French and Linguistics from Georgetown University, an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at George Washington University.

Anna Todorova picture

Anna Todorova, MBA is the Associate Manager for Operations for ACCESS for ELLs. At CAL she also oversees Test Administrator Training. She has years of experience managing large community and educational development programs with the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, as well as supporting volunteer programs in the Balkans, Caucuses, and Central Asia. She brings expertise in ESL/TEFL content, teaching, teacher training, and training for development. Most recently, she taught adult ESL with the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Maryland. Anna holds an MBA from City University, Bellevue, WA, and an MA in English Language and Literature.

Test Development Team

Lakisha Dockett picture

Lakisha Dockett is a Language Testing Specialist for ACCESS for ELLs. She has taught high school English Language Arts in New York City public schools and Pre-GED and ESOL to adults in Maryland. Lakisha's test development experience includes linguistic simplification of NAEP math and science items and writing, reviewing, and scoring field-test items for the Pearson Test of English. She has a BS in English Education (Grades 7-12) from New York University and an MA in English: Linguistics and a Certificate in Teaching ESL from George Mason University.

Michele Kawood picture

Michele Kawood is a Language Testing Specialist for ACCESS for ELLs. Before coming to CAL, Michele was an elementary school educator in Virginia and a French FLEX teacher for grades 2-5. She earned a B.S.Ed in Elementary Education and French from Bucknell University and an M.S.Ed in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

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Lauren Williford is a Language Testing Specialist for ACCESS for ELLs. Before coming to CAL, Lauren gained test development experience writing items for various tests, including the PTE--Academic/General, DLPT5, the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test, and GTEC for Students. She has also reviewed items for LAS Links, MEPA, NAEP, and the FCICE, and managed consultants for the development and review of the QSSC and DLPT5. She has provided literacy tutoring and teaching to adults and children as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and taught GED skills to adults in Baltimore. Lauren has a BA in Applied Linguistics from UMBC and an MA in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh.

Production Team

Basra Abdillahi-Chire picture

Basra Abdillahi-Chire is the Test Production Coordinator for ACCESS for ELLs. She has several years of experience teaching French in high schools in Africa. She earned her B.A. in French Literature from the University of Lyons, France.

Elizabeth Castillo picture

Elizabeth Castillo is the Production Assistant for ACCESS for ELLs. Elizabeth's experience in production comes from her work at the Organization of American States (OAS) as well as her work as the Production Assistant Manager at a Washington, D.C.-based design firm. Elizabeth tutored English for Speakers of Other Languages for several years. She has a B.A. in Advertising from APEC University in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Dawn Flanagan picture

Dawn Flanagan is the ACCESS for ELLs Administrative Assistant. She currently holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration with over ten years of experience in the related field. Prior to administrative work, Dawn also served one year as a volunteer with Literacy AmeriCorps in Pittsburgh, PA teaching literacy education to adults and children.

Tatyana Vdovina picture

Tatyana Vdovina is the Test Administrator Training Coordinator for WIDA ACCESS for ELLs. Before coming to CAL, Tatyana taught in and coordinated an adult ESOL program at Montgomery College and worked on the Linguistic Correlates of Proficiency project at the University of Maryland and the Center for the Advanced Study of Language (CASL). Tatyana holds a BA in History and Russian Language and Literature from Indiana University and an MA in Second Language Acquisition and Application from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Psychometrics/Research Team

Shu Jing Yen picture

Shu Jing Yen, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at CAL. She serves as Psychometrician for ACCESS for ELLs and is a member of CAL's Quantitative Research team. She has a Ph.D. in Measurement, Applied Statistics, and Evaluation from the University of Maryland.

Mohammed Louguit picture

Mohammed Louguit, Ph.D. is a Research Associate who analyzes data using quantitative and qualitative methods for assessments for ELLs. He has over 20 years of experience in Educational Research and Measurement. He worked on ACCESS for ELLs since its inception. He also has over 10 years of teaching experience in Arabic language and helps with Arabic language questions at CAL. Mohammed has a M.A. and a Ph.D. from Boston College in Educational Research: Evaluation and Measurement.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

Deepak Ebenezer picture

Deepak Ebenezer is a Research Assistant for WIDA Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. Prior to working at CAL, Deepak worked as a mental health worker for students in the Philadelphia school district. He also worked as a research assistant with the National Center on Adult Literacy and Literacy.org. He holds a B.S. in Psychology from Messiah College (PA) and an M.S.Ed in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania.

SALSA-PODER (Prueba Óptima del Español Realizado)

Guillermo Laya picture

Guillermo Laya is the Test Development Coordinator for the SALSA-PODER project. His experience as a coordinator began at Montgomery College-Adult ESOL and Literacy-GED Program as the Intake-Assessment Specialist. Guillermo has also worked as a Test Developer at Second Language Testing Inc where he was involved in review panels and test development for several projects such as LAS Links-Spanish, PTE-Academic, DLPT5, and New Mexico Standardized Spanish Tests. He was also one of the Language Coordinators for the VLR and MC-DLPT5 Projects and the Project Manager for the GTEC for Students Test (Japan). In addition, Guillermo has taught ESOL to students in grades 9-12, college academic programs, and adult education. Guillermo holds a BA in Applied Linguistics from Montclair State University and a MA in TESOL from American University.

Adriana Jokisch-Sagrera picture

Adriana Jokisch-Sagrera is a Language Testing Specialist for SALSA-PODER. Before coming to CAL, Adriana has had extensive experience in bilingual schools as a freelance consultant and a bilingual (Spanish/English) elementary and middle school educator PK-8 in DC and NY. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from American University and an M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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