TOEFL® Young Students Research Program: Graduate Student Research Grants — 2014 Call for Proposals


The Graduate Student Research Grants under the TOEFL® Young Students Series are designed to support foundational research that promotes high-quality language assessment related to young English learners between ages 8 and 15. The grants are offered to students enrolled in doctorate programs in language testing, language education, applied linguistics or related fields. Priority for the Graduate Student Research Grants will be given to foundational research related to young students of English as a foreign language (EFL).

Students enrolled in doctorate programs in institutions around the world in language testing, language education, applied linguistics, or related fields
Amount of grant:

Research Topics

Potential research topics include but are not limited to the following research topics:

  1. Theory of language development of young EFL learners
  2. Domain analysis of communication skills of young EFL learners
  3. English education and policy for young EFL learners
  4. Language development of young EFL learners
  5. Innovations in learning or assessment of young EFL learners
  6. Type of assessment or evidence teachers use to inform teaching and learning of young EFL learners
  7. Impact of large-scale standardized language assessments on young EFL learners, teachers, parents and society
  8. Cognitive and affective characteristics of young EFL learners

Important Dates

July 7, 2014
Proposals due
August 8, 2014
Notifications sent to grant winners
October 1, 2014
Work starts (See Frequently Asked Questions below)

Application and Proposal Process

Submission Deadline July 7, 2014

Proposal materials must be submitted electronically via email to by 11:59 p.m. U.S. ET on July 7, 2014.

The submission must include the following documents:

Proposal Content Requirements

The proposal must include the following key components:

  • Cover page (name and affiliation of the principal investigator and any co-investigators, the email address and phone number of the principal investigator, the title of the project, identification of research topic(s) addressed by the proposal, and the date of submission)
  • Abstract (a statement of the problem, a brief description of the project proposed, and a brief discussion of the implications or utility of the anticipated outcomes; 250 words maximum)
  • Body of the proposal (approximately between 1200–1500 words), which must include the following sections:
    • Rationale (statement of the problem or the issue and relevance to one or more of the research topics above)
    • Literature review (focused summary of related research)
    • Research Questions (specific question(s) or issue(s) to be addressed by the project)
    • Methodology and Design (explanation of the design and methodology, including a description, as appropriate, of the sample of materials or participants; instruments to be used; data collection procedures; identification and coding of variables; and analyses)
    • Implications (a brief discussion of the implications or utility of anticipated or possible outcomes and relevance to practice or theory)
  • References
  • Budget
  • Schedule (list of the major activities of the project and the period in which each will be conducted)

Proposal Format Requirements

Please follow the following format:

  • Word 2003 or later version
  • Arial or Times New Roman font size 11 or 12
  • one-inch margins on all sides
  • double spacing
  • for references, graphs or tables, please use APA style (American Psychological Association, sixth edition – 2010)

Proposal Evaluation Process (July 2014)

Each proposal will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • relevance to the identified research needs
  • feasibility and quality of the proposed research
  • potential contribution to theory, research or practice
  • qualifications of the Principal Investigator

Dissemination Plan

Authors are expected to submit a publishable draft as the final deliverable of the grant. Typically, the research can be published either as an ETS research report or as an article in a professional journal. Please specify which publication venue you plan to pursue, and be aware that the manuscript will have to pass ETS technical review before being submitted for publication.


If you have additional questions about the application process or the grant in general, please contact us at

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why am I required to submit a support letter from a faculty member?

To ensure that the research funded through these grants is of high quality, the Young Students Research Subcommittee is asking for a written statement of support from a faculty member who can comment on the applicant’s research skills, and who is familiar with the plan, scope and schedule of the proposed study.

2. Why am I required to provide a signed document on behalf of my university?

Obtaining the written support of your university for conducting the study is important because we need to ensure that your university agrees to work with ETS to process the payment of the grant.

3. I am an international student studying in the United States. Can I apply for the grant?

Yes, but to make sure you will be able to perform the work associated with the project, you must first discuss potential involvement with your department and university (please see Question 2 above).

4. I am studying in an institution outside of the United States. Can I apply for the grant?

Yes, but to make sure you will be able to perform the work associated with the project, you must first discuss potential involvement with your department and university (please see Question 2 above).

5. When can the work on the project begin?

Please consider October 1, 2014, as the tentative date for the start of the project. The actual start date will vary depending on the duration of the contract process involving your university and ETS.

6. How long can projects funded through the Graduate Research grants last?

The expected duration for each project is 12 months. However, individual projects may continue beyond the first 12 months. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, with the caveat that project duration cannot exceed 24 months.

7. If the project continues beyond the initially agreed-upon end date, will additional funding be available to researchers?

No additional funding will be made available for projects that have been supported through this grant.

8. My project involves payments to participants. Should I include these in my budget?

Yes. The minimum amount of the award is US$3,000. However, if your study involves payments to participants, additional funding up to US$2,000 may be provided under the grant. Please include in your budget details about the payments to participants. If your payments and other project expenses exceed the maximum award amount (US$5,000), please consider alternative funding resources to cover the difference.

9. I am interested in using the TOEFL Junior® or TOEFL® Primary™ tests for my research. Are there TOEFL Junior or TOEFL Primary research forms available to applicants?

The purpose of the Graduate Research grants is to promote foundational research. No research forms or public use data are available for these grants.

10. Can I use this research grant to support my dissertation research?

Yes, the study funded through the grant can be used to build your dissertation project.

11. Who will own the data and draft manuscript resulting from the project?

The grantees will own both the data and the manuscript.

12. How about the dissemination of the research? Will I be allowed to present or publish it?

You will be able to present the research at professional conferences, but will need to request and obtain ETS's approval prior to the conference. You will also be able to publish the research report, but only if and when it passes ETS technical review. The technical review is carried out to ensure that all research reports funded through the grants are of high quality, regardless of the publication venue. Please inform us of your intended publication venue at the time of proposal submission.