A collaboration between British Council and Metametrics

MetaMetrics and the British Council Assessment Research Group invite applications for research which will contribute to our understanding of the construct of EFL reading comprehension and reading comprehension assessment. 

The aim of the grants is to build insights into the interaction between features of text and reading tasks that impact comprehension and can inform teaching, learning and assessment and evaluation. In addition, the grants are intended to provide a body of validity evidence which can contribute to the validation of The Lexile Framework for Reading and EFL reading assessment instruments, such as the Aptis test system developed by the British Council and other British Council test development projects. The projects sponsored by the grants will contribute to improving the application, use and interpretation of these instruments in learning, teaching and evaluation. 

Projects will usually be for a period of one year but projects lasting up to 18 months will also be considered.

WHO CAN APPLY?

Educational institutions and suitably qualified individuals are invited to apply for funding to undertake applied research projects of relevance to the areas of interest outlined below.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The financial support for individual projects will, in principle, be limited to a maximum of £15,000, although it is expected that projects requesting financial support in the region of £10,000 to £15,000 will be most positively considered.

AREAS OF INTEREST FOR 2020

The research grants support researchers around the world in conducting and disseminating the highest quality research. The areas of particular interest to MetaMetrics and the British Council in 2020 include:

READING COMPREHENSION

  • Studies on English language progression, including studies on the relationship between age, instruction (e.g., hours of study, method) and typical gains in Lexile measures and Aptis reading scores.
  • Studies investigating the relationship between the use of feedback derived (i.e. Lexile measures) from Aptis and the impact on teaching and learning. 
  • Studies investigating the impact of controlled vocabulary on reading comprehension level.

   READING COMPREHENSION GROWTH

  • Studies investigating the relationship between reading comprehension level (i.e. interaction between person and text), growth in reading and the impact on the comprehension level needed for optimal growth.
  • Studies investigating the level of comprehension of reading materials needed to be successful in the global community and in careers. 
  • Studies investigating the similarities and differences between EFL reading contexts and English medium instruction contexts in terms of reading demands, the cognitive processes elicited as a part of typical reading tasks, and interpretation of Lexile measures and EFL reading test scores. 

IDENTIFYING DEGREES OF READING TEXT COMPLEXITY APPROPRIATE TO THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY FRAMEWORKS

  • Identifying criterial features of reading texts appropriate for different levels of international or national proficiency frameworks or standards (Common European framework of reference, China standards of English, etc.) 

IS ACCESS TO STUDENT OR TEXT LEXILE MEASURES AVAILABLE? 

Aptis scores and Lexile person measures for research purposes are available by working with the British Council to administer Aptis.  Lexile text measures for research purposes are available by working with MetaMetrics to measure the complexity of the text.  For more information on Lexile person or text measures, visit www.Lexile.com.

 

Grant recipients 2019

Jason Fan (The University of Melbourne) & Tan Jin (Sun Yat-sen University)for their project titled,Refitting the Lexile Text Complexity Trajectory in the Chinese Context: A Corpus-Based Study.

 Zhao Zhongbao and Fu Qimian, (Hunan Institute of Science and Technology) for their investigation into the relationship between reading time, text complexity and reading growth of English foreign language learners in Central China.

 

Grant recipients 2018

Aylin Ünaldi, Bekir Ateş and Cyril Weir (Bogazici University, Bebek-Istanbul, Turkey) for their study: Experts’ judgment of text difficulty and suitability for EAP assessment and its congruence with automatic text analysis indices: a validation study across contexts.

Grant recipients 2017

Benjamin Kremmel, Carol Spöttl, Franz Holzknecht and Matthias Zehentner (Language Testing Research Group, University of Innsbruck, Austria) for their project which explored text and task features of university reading materials in relation to Aptis and Lexile scores.

Ian Tuersley and Saeede Haghi (The University of Warwick) for their study which looked at the impact of academic texts readability on students’ comprehension of and engagement with these resources.

 

 KEY DATES FOR 2019/ 2020

November 2019 Call for Proposals
February 28th 2020 Applications close
March 2020 Evaluation and Selection
April 2020 Notification of decisions to applicants

If additional information about the assessment research grants is required, contact the British Council prior to application at richard.spiby@britishcouncil.org or carolyn.westbrook@britishcouncil.org