An investigation into the test-taking strategies employed for a high-stake test: Implications for test validation

2015 IJRSLL – Volume 4 Issue 3


Kashkouli, Zohreh*
Department of English, University of Isfahan, Iran (

Barati, Hossein
Department of English, University of Isfahan, Iran (

Nejad Ansari, Dariush
Department of English, University of Isfahan, Iran (


Many L2 testing researchers considered test-taking strategies as a possible source of insight concerning test validity. In this regard, the present study was conducted to investigate the test-taking strategies that test takers employed to answer the Iranian National University Entrance Exam for MA in TEFL (INUEMA). 260 randomly chosen undergraduate EFL learners preparing themselves for INUEMA were divided into three groups based on the results of a proficiency test. 80 students were grouped as high-ability group, 78 participants as low-ability and 88 students as the intermediate group. All groups completed the reading section of INUEMA and the Test-taking Strategy Questionnaire which contained four types of strategies. The three groups were compared with respect to the four types of test-taking strategies they employed. The findings revealed that from among all participants, intermediate group used test-taking strategies more than others. The results also showed that monitoring and evaluation were used significantly more than other strategies, which means that takers relied on their academic reading skills for both specific and general comprehension of the texts using neither their background knowledge nor test-wiseness strategies. Signaling the validity of the above high-stake test, the findings of the present study are likely to be of great interest to EFL material developers, instructors and testing organizations.

Keywords: test-taking strategies; validity; reading; monitoring; evaluation; test-wiseness



*Corresponding Author