ERIC Number: ED389720
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
The Interaction of Student Major-Field Group and Text Content in TOEFL Reading Comprehension. TOEFL Research Reports 25.
Hale, Gordon A.
It was hypothesized that a student's major-field area interacts with the text content in determining performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) reading passages. Results with 32,467 graduate school applicants, all nonnative English speakers, supported the study's hypothesis, as students in two major-field groups, the humanities and social sciences and the biological and physical sciences, performed significantly better on passages related to their own groups than on other passages for three of the four test forms examined. Although the hypothesized interaction was statistically significant for most of the test forms, the effect was relatively small, as expressed in terms of points on the TOEFL scale. As a practical matter, the effect seems to be relatively small with typical TOEFL reading passages. Statistically, however, the results showed the effect to be a reliable phenomenon, even if relatively small in magnitude, supporting the theoretical view that a student's major-field interrelates with the text content in determining reading performance. Appendix A contains 7 supplemental tables, appendix B lists the major fields in the four categories; appendix C presents sample reading passages used in the study; and appendix D gives TOEFL subject matter classifications. (Contains 7 tables, 10 figures, and 13 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.
Identifiers: Nonnative Speakers; Test of English as a Foreign Language