(Last updated 9.6.2017)

Originally from a small town outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A., I have lived in Japan for over 15 years. During this time I have taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a range of levels and contexts and worked to develop a thorough understanding of the needs of English language learners. I have taught full-time at the university level since 2006 and received tenure in 2013 as a founding member of the English Education Research Center at Kobe College in Nishinomiya, Japan where I currently work as an Associate Professor.

Besides being actively involved in program management, curriculum development, and classroom teaching, I have also pursued a wide range of scholarly research interests. At the moment, I am most interested in applied linguistics research on second language (L2) speaking development and assessment. I also maintain active interest in the areas of task-based language teaching (TBLT), Rasch measurement, L2 vocabulary testing, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), instructional technology, and information literacy instruction.

I received my M.A. in TESOL from Eastern Michigan University in 2005 and my M.L.I.S from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2011. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Temple University Japan Graduate College of Education where I am working to complete my dissertation entitled “The development of interactive English speaking abilities in a Japanese university context.”






McDonald, K. (2017). [Review of TBLT 2017: The 7th International Conference on Task-Based Language Teaching]. Taking It To Task, 2(1), 3-6.

Kawagoe, E., McDonald, K., & Shirai, Y. (2017). A portrait of Kobe College (2nd ed.). Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha Scientific Ltd.


McDonald, K., & Asaba, M. (2016). 'I don't know' use and guessing on the bilingual Japanese Vocabulary Size Test: Clarifications and limitations. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 5(1), 34-39. Available online here.


McDonald, K., & Asaba, M. (2015). 'I don't know' use and guessing on the bilingual Japanese Vocabulary Size Test: A preliminary report. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 4(1), 16-25. Available online here.

McDonald, K. (2015). Connecting academic library users to virtual reference services. 2015 International Business & Education Conference Proceedings, 574.1-574.6. Available online here.

McDonald, K. (2015). The potential impact of guessing on monolingual and bilingual versions of the Vocabulary Size Test. Osaka JALT Journal, 2, 44-61. Available online here.

McDonald, K. (2015). Re-envisioning libraries for training and literacy development. Procedia - Social and Behaviorial Sciences, 176, 504-508. Available online here.

McDonald, K. (2015). Chapters: 2-1) Communication in English (GE100ab) (pp. 13-16), 3-3) English Zone (pp. 61-62), 4-1.3) 受容語彙サイズとTOEIC scoresの相関性の研究 (pp. 68-69), 4-3) 個人研究 (pp. 72-73) in 神戸女学院大学 共通英語教育研究センター 活動報告書, Vol. 1. Nishinomiya, Japan: Kobe College English Education Research Center.




McDonald, K. (2017, November). Validation of analytic rating scales using MFRM. Paper to be presented at the JALT 2017 Conference, Tsukuba International Congress Center, Ibaraki, Japan.

McDonald, K. (2017, August). Video-recorded discussion and reflection tasks for language learning. Paper presented at the IETC 2017 Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

McDonald, K., & Asaba, M. (2017, June). Student perceptions of video-recorded group discussion and reflection tasks. Paper presented at the JALT CALL 2017 Conference, Matsuyama University, Ehime, Japan.

McDonald, K. (2017, April). A many-facet Rasch analysis of the functioning of established rating scales for lower-proficiency L2 speakers. Paper presented at the TBLT 2017 Conference, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

McDonald, K. (2017, March). Improving the statistical functioning of CAF rating scales for lower-proficiency L2 speakers. Paper presented at the 4th Global Arts and Science Society Conference, Peking University, Shenzhen, China.


McDonald, K., Ballou, K., Kim, M., & Deguchi, M. (2016, November). Assessing speaking in a general English program. Paper presented at the JALT 2016 Conference, Aichi Industry and Labor Center, Nagoya, Japan.

McDonald, K. (2016, September). Are CAF rating scales viable for lower proficiency L2 speakers? Paper presented at the Pacific Second Language Research Forum 2016, Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan.

McDonald, K. (2016, June). Exploring the viability of established rating scales for lower proficiency L2 speakers. Paper presented at the 3rd Task-Based Language Teaching in Asia Conference, Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan.


McDonald, K. (2015, November). Factors influencing Vocabulary Size Test estimates. Paper presented at the JALT 2015 Conference, Shizuoka Convention & Arts Center "Granship", Shizuoka City, Japan.



I am currently teaching the following courses offered in the General Education English program at Kobe College:

GE100ab - Communication in English

GE101ab - Communication in English II

Students, please refer to your class syllabus for course-related information and links.



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