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 both before and after an 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. If appropriate, grantees may also be informed of opportunities to present study results at local conferences.


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 40 hours of instruction in either long-term programs or shorter-term intensive programs during the data collection period
  • Class size: at least 15 students per class and at least 60 students per institution
  • 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:

  • 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 third annual TOEFL English-language Researcher/Practitioner Grant program is expected in September 2014.


Grantees will be required to administer the TOEFL iBT or TOEFL IPT test both before and after an instructional period, conduct student background surveys, analyze the data, and summarize the study results, with technical assistance from ETS if needed. In addition, an ETS-developed questionnaire will be provided to grantees and their students to complete toward the end of the instructional period.

Grantees are encouraged to consider research dissemination activities such as presenting their results at conferences with prior ETS technical review and approval.

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
  • Regional diversity of the grantees; applications from non-North American institutions will be given priority in selection

Where to Request Further Information

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.