Measuring Research Participants’ EFL Proficiency: What Practical Options do Researchers in Thailand Have?
Researchers in Thailand often face the challenge of objectively measuring the EFL proficiency of their research participants as most Thais do not have scores from an internationally accepted standardized test, such as TOEFL or IELTS. This paper first presents a discussion of the necessity of assessing the English proficiency of non-native English speaking participants in ESL/EFL research.
Following this, based on observations of published EFL studies conducted within the Thai context, the author discusses the lack of uniformity in how adult Thais’ EFL proficiency has been assessed and reported. The author subsequently proposes two tests, Brown’s (1980) cloze test and LexTALE (Lemhöfer & Broersma, 2012), as practical tests which quantitative researchers in Thailand can administer to obtain a reasonable proxy for Thais’ EFL proficiency. For each test, a test description is given, including how it has been used in previous ESL/EFL research. The benefits and caveats associated with the tests are also identified. While recognizing that language proficiency is a complex construct, this paper aims to present researchers in Thailand with practical EFL proficiency assessment tests which they can adopt in further enhancing their research rigor.