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College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University
Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Pierce

Phone: (703) 993-2050
Fax: (703) 993-4370
Email: lpierce (

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Thompson Hall 1502
4400 University Dr.
MS 4B3
Fairfax, VA 22030


Dr. Valdez Pierce holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University.She has served as an Associate Professor in the Multilingual/Multicultural Education (MME) Program since 1992. She served as Co-Coordinator of the MME Program, concentrating on developing the CISL/ ESL Teacher Licensure Program for 6 years. Dr. Valdez Pierce began as a middle school teacher of English Language Arts, Reading, and Spanish as well as an Adult Education teacher of English as a second language. After obtaining her M.Ed., she taught at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where her students consisted of privates, lieutenants, captains, and other foreign military personnel in the Air Force, Army, and Navy from over 30 different language groups.

In 1982, she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to Italy to conduct training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) with secondary teachers. Dr. Valdez Pierce has worked for a number of international, national and federally-funded educational organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area since 1980. She has held positions as Senior Evaluation Specialist for the Georgetown University Evaluation Assistance Center, Research Associate/Editor at the Center for Applied Linguistics, Director of National Origin Desegregation Programs for the American University's Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, and Editor/Information Specialist at the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.

Between 2008 and 2011, Dr. Valdez Pierce served as member of the development team, as well as professional development consultant to FLARE,Formative Language Assessment Records for English Language Learners in Secondary School, a Carnegie Foundation Grant administered by the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.In addition, between 2003 and 2010, she was a professional development consultant to WIDA, World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, a Multi-State Consortium for Enhanced Assessment of English Language Learners serving 25 states and operated by the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER), University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Dr. Valdez Pierce is currently revising her popular, classic publication, a teacher resource book written with co-author J. Michael O'Malley, Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical Approaches for Teachers (Pearson Longman, 1996). She has had articles published in TESOL Journal, TESOL Matters, and Educational Assessment. She has also authored chapters on assessment appearing in a variety of books. In addition to teaching graduate courses, conducting research on assessment in teacher education, providing professional development workshops through school-university partnerships, and producing publications. Dr. Valdez Pierce serves as a consultant or invited speaker for professional associations such as TESOL and NEA, at national, statewide, and local education meetings and conferences each year.

Research Interests
  • Assessment
  • Language Assessment
  • Performance Assessment
  • Authentic Assessment
  • Curriculum Design
  • Reading Strategies Instruction
  • Literacy Instruction and Assessment
  • Education Policy
Recent Publications
  • Pierce, L. V. (in press 2011). Assessment. Chapter in C.J. Ovando, V. P. Collier, & M.C. Combs (Eds.), Bilingual and ESL Classrooms, 5th Ed. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill. (book chapter)
  • O'Malley, J. M. & Pierce, L. V. (in progress). Authentic assessment for English language learners: Practical approaches for teachers, 2nd Ed. White Plains, NY: Pearson. (book)
  • Pierce, L. V. (2003). Assessing English Language Learners. Washington, DC: National Education Association.
  • Pierce, L. V.(2003, June/July/August). Teaching to the Test: Best practice? TESOL Matters 13 (3), 1, 6.
  • Pierce, L. V. (2003, March/April/May). Accountability and Equity: Compatible Goals of High-Stakes Testing? TESOL Matters 13 (2), 1, 6.
Other Information

GRADUATE Courses I have designed and taught - 2005 - 2011 

  • EDCI 520 - Assessment of Language Learners (survey course on standardized and performance-based assessments for English language learners (ESL) and students of World (Foreign) Languages.
  • EDCI 777 - Research to Practice (Action Research-based course)
  • EDCI 510 - Linguistics for PreK-12 ESOL Teachers (survey course on English phonology, morphology, and syntax)

Designed and taught prior to 2005:


  • EDCI 516 - Bilingualism & Language Acquisition Research
  • EDCI 519 - Methods for Teaching ESL Students
  • EDCI 521 - Curriculum for English Language Learners
  • EDRD 615 - Teaching Reading/Writing in Multicultural/Multilingual Settings
  • EDUC 881 - Doctoral Seminar:  Bilingual Education Policy

Recommended Resources:

  • "Panel finds few learning gains from testing movement," Education Week, May 26, 2011. Online