Ken Romeo

ATS for the Language Center

ATS for the Language Center, where he works with the director, and the instructional and administrative staff.  In 2012 he became one of three managers of the ATS program. After completing an undergraduate degree in applied physics, Ken went to study at Xi Bei University in the People’s Republic of China and then to Japan where he taught English for 10 years to a wide variety of students, from kindergarteners to professional translators and interpreters. He returned to the US in 2000 to enroll in an MA program at the Graduate School of Education (then SUSE), and in 2006 he completed his  PhD in Educational Linguistics, with a focus on foreign language learning.  During the summers, he taught in the English for Foreign Students (EFS) program and did his dissertation research in the Meyer Library Digital Language Lab while teaching one summer.  Eventually he taught for EFS full time as he finished his graduate program and in 2006 he was hired as the ATS for the Language Center, where he works with the director, Professor Elizabeth Bernhardt, and the instructional and administrative staff.  In 2012 he became one of three managers of the program and now serves the ATSs for the DLCL and the English Department, as well as the Digital Language Lab Service Manager.  He has continued to teach foreign graduate students in one EFS class each quarter, but has also taught undergraduates in the Linguistics department (LING 90), and teacher candidates in the GSE Stanford Teacher Education Program (EDUC 388A).

Language Center assessments

Each year, as part of Stanford’s foreign language requirement, the Language Center administers placement tests, online Simulated Oral Proficiency Interviews (SOPIs) and Writing Proficiency Assessments (WPAs).  As the representative of the Language Center in this process, Ken is responsible for assembling the test media and producing it in a deliverable format.  For the exit assessments, the SOPI and WPA, he is also responsible for scheduling the individual assessments, checking the software implementation, and administering the test for each individual group of students. The SOPI and WPA tests are the highest stakes assessments that the Language Center implements and they require a coordinated effort between Language Center staff and instructors, Language Lab personnel, learning management system support staff and network administrators, as well as Academic Computing imaging and hardware specialists. Between 500 and 1000 students take each of these tests every year.

Placement Testing

Ken is responsible for managing the online component of this process, which is administered by an outside contractor in the summer before freshman arrive on campus.  He is also responsible for creating the DVD and CD media used in on-campus speaking tests delivered during orientation week.

SOPI (Simulated Oral Proficiency Interviews)

The SOPI test is delivered on software developed by the Academic Computing Systems’ Coursework team to simulate a live interview. Enrollment is drawn from Coursework, test delivery is restricted to computers in the Language Lab, and results are securely posted in dedicated sites on Coursework.

WPA (Writing Proficiency Assessments)

The WPA is an electronic version of a paper test and is designed to ensure secure and efficient delivery of tests and results. It is run on locked-down laptops connected to the Assignments tool of Coursework.

Language Center Technology Resources

Ken maintains a site with instructions for most of the hardware, software, and websites that Language Center instructors use, including a detailed set of pages for specific tasks in Coursework.

Coursework Tutorial

For all instructors in the Language Center, the first step in developing the online component of their courses is Stanford’s learning management system, Coursework.  All instructors are required to complete a tutorial which gives them a chance to interact with Coursework as students, and then guides them through basic activities such as posting material and creating assignments.

Private blogs for courses

After the security changes of 2011, course blogs containing student work became a possibility.  Since that time, Ken has worked with instructors in several programs to set up blogs for one-quarter courses.  In most cases, instructors used these blogs, which were only accessible to course participants, for second year courses with a writing component.  Together with other representatives from ACS, he has discussed expanding this capability with IT Services.

EFS Summer Lecture Series

Several summer intensive courses in the EFS program bring members of the Stanford faculty and community in for short lectures as part of their curricula.  Ken and EFS have been capturing these for over 10 years and posting them online to support in-class and homework activities.

Language Center and Program Websites

Ken has been involved in two upgrades to the Language Center website, which combines sustainable html design using the Stanford Modern template, and interactive components to facilitate frequent information updates, such as placement test results.  The Language Center is also rolling out a partnership with Stanford Web Services to help all language programs build their own websites.

Sakai Teaching and Learning Group

Coursework is based on open-community software called Sakai, and Ken was an active member of the Teaching and Learning Group which formulated the Sakai Learning Capabilities Design Lenses (, a set of guidelines for the next generations of learning management systems.


A web-based version of desktop ESL listening exercises.

DIY Fill-in-the-Blanks

Thorough documentation of one classroom-based language activity.