Test-taking Strategies and EFL Learners’ Performance on the Reading Sub-test of Iranian Universities PhD Entrance Exam

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

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

2 Hossein Barati*, Associate Professor, Department of English, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran: English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran h.barati@gmail.com

Abstract

The present study was an attempt to investigate the validity of the English section of Iranian Universities PhD Entrance Exam in TEFL. To this end, 15 EFL learners from university of Isfahan who were in their last semester of that MA education were invited to contribute to the study. A group of 5 university lecturers were also asked to support the study as expert judges. A TOEFL reading paper was used to divide the participants into three ability groups, each consisting of five learners. Think-aloud study was used to find out the strategies each ability group used when completing the test. All the participants completed the reading section of the PhD Entrance Exam while verbalizing their thoughts. The verbal reports were transcribed and coded based on Barati’s (2005) taxonomy of Test-taking strategies. The Chi- square analysis of the think aloud protocols revealed that Monitoring and Evaluation strategies were used significantly more than other strategies by all ability groups. Moreover, the results indicated that the high ability group of test takers were more successful compared with others in maneuvering among different type of strategies. Further, different patterns of strategy use were observed in the three ability groups. The findings of the present study may be of interest to the PhD Entrance Exam developers as well as EFL material designers and classroom instructors.

Keywords


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