Ray Clifford earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota, and his career has included both government and academic assignments. In both of those venues he has sought to promote the value of high-level language proficiency.His research includes exploring the relationship between superior language proficiency and cognitive development, the acquisition of language in non-traditional settings, and the advantages of using criterion-referenced tests to assess individuals’ language proficiency.
While Chancellor of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, he instituted a classification system for language jobs that replaced the traditional focus on the frequency of the communication tasks encountered with an emphasis on the infrequent, but critical communication tasks that required nuanced, accurate communications. At Brigham Young University, he instituted a university-wide language certification program that is based on students’ tested proficiency rather than on the number of classes they have taken.
In all his assignments, he has demonstrated that the measurement of language proficiency is an essential component of instructional program management.