Lee Paul Gunderson


Research Classification

Research Interests

home literacy environment

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).


Doctoral students
Any time / year round

ESL(ELL) Literacy Assessment

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    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
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Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.


I am privileged to work with Professor Lee Gunderson, an amazing person, researcher, and academic! He has been extremely generous and helpful as supervisor throughout the program. He fully respected as well as supported my scholarly pursuits, which led to SSHRC Fellowship and two Faculty of Education awards. He always promptly responded to and met with me whenever I requested, even on a weekly-basis during his sabbatical. Many thanks, Lee, for being an outstanding advisor!

Shahid A. Hassan (2019)


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

English for academic purposes in Canada: practitioners' assessment practices and construction of assessment literacy (2022)

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) continues to expand across post-secondary education settings. In EAP programs, assessment practices play a key role in achieving learning goals and integrating students into relevant academic communities. Research on this critical area, especially in Canada, has been limited. For the most part, neither teacher education nor professional development activities have fully addressed the specialized and interdisciplinary nature of EAP assessment. The present study was designed to explore the issue of the assessment literacy (AL) of EAP practitioners from public and private post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. The study investigated the acquisition and development of practitioners’ AL, their self-assessed competence in assessment, engagement in various assessment practices, and assessment practices as members of a peer community in the teaching context. This study was grounded in a theory of learning ecology, which views learning as a socially mediated activity. Participants were EAP practitioners (n=57) representing the diverse population of EAP educators at post-secondary institutions in the region. The study utilized an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, and the data were analyzed to document participants’ roles as assessors and to identify the factors that mediated the development of their AL as well as assessment practices. Findings of the study contribute to the understanding of instructor-oriented EAP assessment in a Canadian context.

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An Investigation of the Cross-mode Comparability of a Paper and Computer-based multiple-choice Cloze Reading Assessment for ESL Learners (2012)

This study was designed to determine whether a computer-based version of a standardized cloze reading test for second language learners is comparable to its traditional paper-based counterpart and to identify how test takers’ computer familiarity and perceptions of paper and computer-based tests related to their performance across testing modes.Previous comparability research for second language speakers revealed that some studiesfound that the two forms are comparable while others found they are not. Findings on theconnection between computer attitudes and computer test performance were also mixed.One hundred and twenty high school ELL students were recruited for the study. The research instruments included both paper and computer-based versions of a locally developed reading assessment. The two tests are the same in terms of content, questions,pagination and layout. The design was a Latin squares so that two groups of learners took the tests in the opposite order and their scores were compared. Participants were also asked tocomplete questionnaires about their familiarity with computers and their perceptions of eachof the two testing modes.Results indicate that the paper and computer-based versions of the test are comparable. A regression analysis showed that there is a relationship between computer familiarity and computer-based LOMERA performance. Mode preference survey datapointed to differences in preferences depending on each unique test feature. These results help validate the cross-mode comparability of assessments outside of the traditional discrete point multiple choice tests which tends to predominate in current research.

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Invitations to literacy : research on literacy interactions between authors and students (2008)

This study explored the nature of and extent to which Canadian children's authorswere inviting school-age students into literacy. The most common forms of interactionbetween authors and readers were identified.While essentially exploratory in nature this investigation provided somedescriptive research to help uncover the parameters of the phenomenon of authorsinteracting with readers at literacy events.A pilot study was conducted in 2004 to help inform the national survey given in2007. Seventy-three Canadian children's authors participated in the national survey. Theemail survey consisted of 15 items and asked a variety of questions ranging from howauthors shared their craft with students to how beneficial authors found websites as ameans of communicating with their readership.From the 125 pages of transcription of responses the following general themesarose: authors in school environments, correspondence, websites, author roles, authors asliteracy resources, engaging in the literacy process, and facilitating events and people.Two main research tools were used in this study. Atlas.ti was used to generate keycategories from the authors' comments. SPSS was used to generate frequencies.Findings from this study suggested that authors were highly engaged in invitingstudents further into literacy by meeting and corresponding with readers. Authorsidentified elements of fiction, researching, reading, developing style, and generating ideasas central components of their dialogues and mentoring of school-aged children.Authors also said that websites were significant for maintaining contact with theirreadership. Based on the findings of this research, a theoretical model was developed.The Reader/Author Reciprocal Mediation Model considers how students' literacy canimprove when authors and readers of texts interact with a storyworld. This study providesa framework for understanding how authors are impacting student literacy.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

"You can study with joy": exploring international students' attitudes and opinions regarding their educational experiences in a Canadian secondary school (2012)

International students from around the world are increasingly being recruited and admitted to secondary schools and universities across Canada. As neither immigrants nor native-born Canadians, international students occupy a special space in the student landscape and have significantly different identities than other groups of culturally and linguistically diverse students. The unique experiences and perspectives of adolescent international students in Canadian secondary schools requires further study as this area has been largely overlooked in the literature. This exploratory study investigated the experiences of international students in a Canadian secondary school through semi-structured interviews with three students, one from Korea and two from Japan. Prior to the interviews, students were given the interview questions in the form of a questionnaire translated into their first language and asked to reflect on and respond to the questions in writing. Students were asked to share their perspectives on the educational and cultural differences between the school(s) they attended in their home country and their school in Canada. The interview transcripts and written responses revealed reoccurring themes corresponding to the key words or ideas within each reply.The students in this study were very positive in their perception of the Canadian education system and unanimously agreed that they preferred studying in Canada over studying in their home countries. The cultural differences discussed in the interviews were perceived as positive and beneficial rather than problematic. The social differences between Canada and their home countries, in terms of how they were allowed to interact with others and how others, especially their teachers, responded to them, were found to be the most important and meaningful differences for all three students. These social differences included having more personal autonomy and freedom, both in and out of the classroom, having positive and “comfortable” relationships with teachers and the student-centered nature of Canadian teaching methods. Environmental differences, such as the school schedule and student course load, were also mentioned several times. Strictly instructional differences, in terms of types of class activities and assignments, were only discussed when I asked about them directly.

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