skip to main content skip to footer

The Speaking Section of the TOEFL iBT (SSTiBT): Test-Takers' Reported Strategic Behaviors TOEFL iBT

Swain, Merrill; Huang, Li-Shih; Barkaoui, Khaled; Brooks, Lindsay; Lapkin, Sharon
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Internet Based Testing (iBT), Academic Speaking, Second-Language Speaking, Strategic Behaviors, Speaking Tasks, Speaking Tests


The interrelationships among these three categories were negative. Undergraduates reported using significantly more communication strategies, whereas graduates reported using significantly more cognitive and affective strategies. No statistically significant differences were found in reported strategy use across proficiency levels. The integrated tasks were more alike with respect to reported strategy use than were the independent and integrated tasks. Furthermore, the integrated tasks elicited a wider variety of reported strategy use than the independent tasks. Overall, we found no relationship between the total number of reported strategic behaviors and total test score on the SSTiBT. We conclude that strategy use is integral to performing SSTiBT tasks and should therefore be considered as part of the construct of communicative performance. However, the relationship between strategy use and test performance is varied and is due to complex interactions among test-taker characteristics, tasks, and contexts.

Read More