English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant Program


The purpose of the TOEFL® English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant program is to enable practitioners to become involved in ETS's efforts to promote English language learning and to support education and professional development for English-language teachers worldwide through ETS's assessments and services.

The main objectives of this grant program are:

  • to provide language teachers who have direct contact with English learners in classrooms with opportunities to conduct and collaborate in research
  • to accumulate additional information about the effectiveness of using TOEFL test scores for decision making in various contexts
  • to build a better understanding of the complex relationships among learner characteristics, English language learning environment and learning outcomes


Grantees will investigate changes in English-language proficiency levels in relation to teaching and learning in their particular contexts. Chiefly, grantees will:

  • administer the TOEFL iBT® or TOEFL ITP® test at least once before and after an instructional period
  • conduct student background surveys (provided by ETS)
  • collect student performance samples (e.g., audio or video recordings of speech and/or writing assignments)
  • organize and analyze the test and survey results
    • Technical assistance from ETS is available if needed.
  • write a research report that provides detailed descriptions of the instructional program, the test and survey administrations, performance samples, and analysis results


  • Grantees are encouraged to consider research dissemination activities. With prior ETS technical review and approval, grantees will be permitted to submit proposals for presenting their results at conferences and seminars.
  • If the instructional period extends beyond one academic semester or quarter (e.g., a series of classes in succession with the same students), grantees are encouraged to administer the tests more than twice and collect performance samples throughout the entire instructional period.

Award Value

Successful applicants will receive funding of US$5,000–$10,000. The exact amount of funding will be commensurate with the scope of the particular research project after determining the duration of the instructional period, the frequency of test administrations, the number of students tested, and the amount of other performance data collected.


Practitioners who are teaching English in various contexts including universities, intensive English programs and study-abroad programs are invited to apply. Prior research experience is not required, but practitioners with advanced degrees in language instruction, or a related field, will be given preference.

Preferred class/course specifications are as follows:

  • class contact hours: at least a total of 60 hours of instruction in either long-term programs or shorter-term intensive programs during the data collection period
  • number of study participants: at least 60 per institution
  • class size: at least 15 students per class
  • duration: at least one academic quarter or semester
  • English-learning background: students who have taken at least five years of English education at any grade level
  • focus: improving one or more specific English-language skills (e.g., listening, speaking, reading or writing)

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  • completed application
  • curriculum vitae
  • a description of the proposed class, which should include, in addition to other items, the characteristics of students (e.g., age, gender, English-proficiency level, educational background) and the specifics of the planned instruction (e.g., duration, intensity, materials, teaching methods)


As of September 30, 2015, the application process for the fourth annual grant program is closed. The announcement of the fifth annual TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant program is expected in July 2016.

Evaluation Criteria

All applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • planned English-language class relevance to the program goals
  • relevance of the applicant's professional experience
  • duration of instructional period
    • Longer-term programs (e.g., more than 60 hours of instruction and/or more than one academic quarter or semester) will be given priority in selection.
  • amount and relevance of collectable student performance data
  • regional diversity of the grantees

Where to Request Further Information

Important: When submitting inquiries, enter the name of the grant into the subject line — i.e., TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant Program.

TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant Program

Attn: Terry Axe