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

The specific goal for the program is to compile data from diverse language learning contexts and to summarize these data in order to better understand the complexities of English language learning and teaching. The grantees will be asked to investigate changes in English-proficiency levels in relation to teaching and learning in a particular context by administering the TOEFL iBT® or TOEFL ITP® test at least before and after an instructional period. More specifically, the grantees will be asked to provide information on the instructional program, and student learning and other background characteristics. Grantees will also be encouraged to collect student performance samples (e.g., writing assignments; audio or video recordings of speech) at different intervals during the instructional period. 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 consider administering the tests and collecting performance samples throughout the entire instructional period. If needed, ETS will provide support in the quantitative analysis of the data and interpretation of the results.

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 in contexts that meet specified criteria are invited to apply. Prior research experience is not required, but practitioners with advanced degrees in language teaching 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 — listening, speaking, reading or writing

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed Application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A description of the class that they will be teaching, which includes, but is not limited to, the characteristics of students (age, gender, English-proficiency level, educational background, etc.) and the nature of the planned instruction (e.g., duration, intensity, materials, teaching methods)

Important Dates

Please check the TOEFL Grants website for updates and application deadlines. The announcement of the fourth annual TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant program is expected in July 2015


Grantees will be required to administer the TOEFL iBT or TOEFL ITP test at minimum before and after an instructional period, conduct student background surveys, organize and analyze the data collected, and summarize the analysis results, with technical assistance from ETS if needed. In addition, an ETS-developed background questionnaire will be provided to grantees for their students to complete. 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.

Evaluation Criteria

All applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the planned English-language class to the program goals
  • Relevance of applicant's experience
  • Duration of instructional period; longer-term programs (for example, 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 student performance data that can be collected
  • Regional diversity of the grantees

Where to Request Further Information

Please Note: When submitting application materials and/or inquiries, please include the name of the grant in the subject line as indicated below:

TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant Program

TOEFL Grants and Awards Program
Attn: Terry Axe, MS 50-L
Princeton, NJ 08541 USA

Electronic applications are encouraged.

See Frequently Asked Questions for more information.