The relationship between test-taking strategies and Iranian EFL learners’ performance on reading comprehension tests

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of English, Qeshm Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qeshm , Iran

2 Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Although most researchers have recently considered the role of test-taking strategies as one of the most vital factors in test taking process, it has been ignored by most EFL teachers in educational and academic settings including Iran. Because of the importance of test-taking strategies in EFL learners’ performance in tests, this research was set out to examine what strategies Iranian EFL test takers employed in reading comprehension tests. Furthermore, the present paper aimed at finding any possible relationship between test-taking strategies and test takers’ performance on reading comprehension tests. Discovering the best predictors of EFL reading test performance among several categories of test-taking strategies was also investigated. To this end, 135 EFL students were chosen based on their availability. All of the students were female, majoring in different fields of study. Three kinds of materials including multiple-choice reading comprehension tests, a questionnaire, and interviews were utilized to investigate the research questions. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, Pearson Product Correlation, and stepwise regression. The results showed a significant, positive, but low correlation between the students’ total reading score and planning and also monitoring strategies. Furthermore, planning strategy proved to be a predictor of English reading comprehension test.

Keywords


Bachman, L. F. (1982). The trait structure of cloze test scores. TESOL Quarterly 16, 61-70.

Carrell, P.L. (1988). Interactive approaches to second language reading. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Cohen, A., & Upton, T. (2007). ‘I want to go back to the text’: Response strategies on the reading subtest of the new TOEFL. Language Testing, 24(2), 209-250.

Dodeen, H. (2008). Assessing test-taking strategies of university students: Developing a scale and estimating its psychometrics indices. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(4), 409-419.

Dodeen, H. (2009). Test-related characteristics of UAEU students: Test-anxiety, test-taking skills, guessing, attitudes towards tests, and cheating. Journal of Faculty of Education,26, 31-66.

Dodeen, H., Abdelfattah, F., & Alshumrani, S. (2014). Test-taking skills for secondary students:  the relationship with motivation, attitudes, anxiety, and attitudes towards tests. South African Journal of Education. 34(2): 1-18.

Dolly, J.P. & Williams, K.S. (1986). Using test-taking strategies to maximize multiple-choice test scores. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 46, 619-625.

Johnson, P. (1983). Reading comprehension assessment: A cognitive basis. Newark: International Reading Association.

Kashkuli, Z., Barati, H., & Nejad Ansari, D. (2015). Test-taking strategies and item specifications: Focusing on a high-stake test. International Journal of Research Studies in Education. 4(2), 43-56.

O' Malley, M. J., & Chamot, A.U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Peng, Y. (2005). Test preparation strategies and test taking strategies use in Chinese high school students (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Perney, J., & Ravid, R. (1990, April). The relationship between attitudes toward statistics, math self-concept, test anxiety and graduate students' achievement in an introductory statistics course. Paper presented at the meeting of the AmericanEducational Research Association, Boston, MA.

Phakiti, A. (2003). A closer look at the relationship of cognitive and metacognitive strategy use to EFL reading achievement test performance, Language Testing, 20(1), 26-56.

Pour-Mohammadi, M., & Zainol Abidin, M.J. (2012). Does instructing test-taking strategies significantly enhance reading comprehension test performance? The case of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Linguistics. 4(3), 293-311.

Ritter, S., & Idol-Maestas, L. (1986). Teaching middle school students to use a test-taking strategy. Journal of Educational Research, 79, 350-357.      

Sefcik, D., Bice. G & Prerost, F. (2013). How to study for standardized tests. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Shafiei Ebrahimi, S. (2012). Reading strategies of Iranian postgraduate English students living at ESL context in the first and second Language. Paper presented at the International Conference on Education and Management Innovation.

Steele, F., & Arth, A.A. (1998). Lowering anxiety in the math curriculum. Education Digest, 63(7):18-24.

Strnad, K. (2003). Coping with college series: Handling test anxiety. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.ilstu.edu/files/downloads/articles/coping-test_anxiety.pdf

Sun, L. (2011). Investigating Chinese English majors’ use of reading strategies: A study on the relationship between reading strategies and reading achievements (Unpublished doctoral   dissertation). Kristianstad University, Sweden.

Sweetnam, K.R. (2002). Test taking strategies and student achievement. Cloquet, Minnesota: Running Head.

Vattanapath, R., & Jaiprayoon, K. (1999). An assessment of the effectiveness of teaching test- taking strategies for multiple-choice English reading comprehension tests. Occasional Papers, 8, 57-71.

Veeravagu, J., Muthusamy, C., Marimuthu, R., & Subrayan, A. (2010). Using Bloom‘s Taxonomy to gauge students’ reading comprehension performance. Canadian Social Science, 6(3), 205-212.