Strategies in Responding to New TOEFL® Reading Tasks

Cohen, Andrew D.; Upton, Thomas A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-06-06, TOEFL-MS-33
Document Type:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic reading comprehension reading reading strategies test-taking strategies verbal report language use strategies


This study describes the reading and test-taking strategies that test takers used in the Reading section of the LanguEdge™ courseware (ETS, 2002a). These materials were developed to familiarize prospective respondents with the new TOEFL® test. The investigation focused on strategies used to respond to more traditional single selection multiple-choice formats (i.e., Basic Comprehension and Inferencing questions) and the new selected-response (multiple selection, drag and drop) Reading to Learn items. The latter were designed to simulate the academic task of forming a comprehensive and coherent representation of an entire text, rather than focusing on discrete points in the text. Verbal report data were collected from 32 students, representing four language groups (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Other) doing the Reading section tasks from the LanguEdge courseware materials. Students were randomly assigned to two of the six reading subtests, each consisting of a 600–700 word text with 12–13 items. Subjects’ verbal report accompanying items representing each of the ten item types was evaluated to determine strategy use. The findings provide insights into the response behaviors prompted by the reading tasks on the new TOEFL®.

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