Test Preparation Research

Collaborative scholarship in assessment, evaluation, and knowledge mobilization

Test Preparation Research

Dr. Liying Cheng together with three co-investigators and two partners, examined the effects of test preparation on test performance and English language proficiency among test-takers whose predominant language is not English. This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant. The study was conducted in partnership with the four largest international English language testing agencies, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), and the College English Test (CET). The study findings provide test-designers and test users with empirical evidence regarding the predominant phenomenon of test preparation and the validity of test scores. This international research team conducted research with 6 test-taker groups – Chinese, Punjabi, Korean, Arabic, Persian and Spanish – in four countries.

Funding: SSHRC

Lead Investigator: Dr. Liying Cheng

Select Publications


Saif, S., Ma, J., May, L., & Cheng, L. (2019). Test preparation across three contexts: Case studies from Australia, Iran and China. Assessment in Education. https://doi-org.proxy.queensu.ca/10.1080/0969594X.2019.1700211

Ma, J. & Cheng, L. (2017). Preparing students to take tests. In C. Coombe (Ed.), TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching: Assessment and evaluation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Ma, J., & Cheng, L. (2016). Chinese student’ perceptions of the value of test preparation courses for the TOEFL iBT: Merit, worth and significance. TESL Canada Journal, 33(1), 58-79. http://www.teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1227

Cheng, L., & Doe, C. (2013). Test preparation: A double-edged sword. IATEFL-TEASIG (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language’s Testing, Evaluation and Assessment Special Interest Group) Newsletter, 54, 19-20.

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