Nic Underhill

Current status

Freelance consultant in assessment, evaluation and international education


PhD in Education (language assessment) (2000) (Sheffield Hallam University)
MA in Applied Linguistics (1980) (University of Reading)
RSA Diploma (now DELTA) in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (1977)
B.A. (Honours) in Social Science (1972) (University of Sussex)


2001–2012Cambridge Assessment (University of Cambridge Examinations Syndicate)

・2001−2003: Senior Validation Coordinator, Cambridge ESOL Research & Validation
・2003−2009: Assistant Director, Cambridge ESOL Assessment & Operations
・2010−2012: Local Project Director, Cairo, on secondment from CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) to the Nile Egyptian Schools Project

1994–2001: School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University: Principal Lecturer & Head of TESOL Centre
1990-1993: GEOS English Academy, Brighton and Hove:  School Principal
1974-1989 Education and management posts in the field of English language teaching

・Kuwait Oil Company Training Centre, Ahmadi, Kuwait – Director of Studies 1977-79 and Programme Director 1983-84
・International Language Centre, Paris, France 1984-86 – Director
・English language teacher at schools in UK 1974-1977

Publications and presentations

Testing Spoken Language, Cambridge University Press, 1987, Winner of English Speaking Union Methodology Prize, 1988; Japanese translation published 1997

Focus on Studying in Britain, Macmillan, 1991

The ELT Manager’s Handbook, Heinemann (Macmillan), 1994, with Graham Impey

Founder editor of IATEFL ELT Management Newsletter, issues 1–18, 1989 to 1995

Author/presenter of numerous articles and papers, on aspects of:

Education Management – most recently on Leadership in ELT and Business Planning & Course Costing, at TESOL Arabia Conference, United Arab Emirates, 2005

Testing and Assessment – Promoting excellence in teaching at British Council conference, Glasgow, 2004; LAURELS and Culturas Inglesas, Brazil, 1998; British Council Leeds 1998; IATEFL Vienna 1996; TESOL Hawaii 1982

Assessing Speaking in Academic Contexts, two-day seminar for ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) Tallinn, Estonia, May 2013

Quality assurance activities

Project sponsor, ISO 9001:2000 implementation at Cambridge ESOL, 2004-2007

Assessor training for EFQM Excellence Model at Sheffield Hallam University, 2000

External examiner, Graduate Certificate in TEFL, Queen’s University of Belfast, 1995-97

Inspector on British Council Accreditation Scheme panel, 1996-2001

Judging facilitator, ELT Innovations Awards, 1998-2002

Research and consultancy activities

Independent member of English UK Steering Group creating new single body to represent state and private sector English Language Teaching programmes in UK, 2002-2004

Research collaboration with Saudi Development & Training, Dhahran, KSA for validation of SDT ‘Five Star’ computer-based English language test 1996-2000

European TEMPUS project with universities in Slovakia & Germany to promote international student mobility across the European Union 1998-2001

Delivery of ELT Management seminars 1991-2001 on business planning; costing & pricing courses; managing performance & reward; QA;  including ELT management seminars at British Council Tashkent 1998 and British Council Belgrade 1996

British Council/English for Management Advisory Service Courses Warsaw, 1991 and 1992



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