IELTS Listening

This study investigates whether there are differences between the strategies used by native speakers/ expert users of English and learners of English who are native speakers of Chinese when they take an IELTS Listening Test.

Twenty four native speakers of Chinese, twelve pre-undergraduate and twelve pre-postgraduate, at an IELTS level for the Listening paper of between 5.5 and 6.5 and eight native speakers of English, three undergraduates, three masters level and two doctoral, took a sample listening test (Jakeman and McDowell, 2006). Data were collected using a think aloud protocol and then analyzed using a framework based on Goh (2002) adapted to include particular features of the data sets on a grounded approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, Glaser, 1992, Senior, 2006). This produced a three level system of coding, with an initial distinction between cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies, each of which was divided into sub-strategies and then again into the tactics used to carry out the strategies.

The result of Independent measure 2-tailed t-test revealed there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of strategy use. At the level of sub-strategy there were differences on two out of thirteen metacognitive strategies. At the level of tactic there were significant differences for seven tactics (two cognitive and five meta-cognitive) out of fifty eight at p≤0.005. This suggests that the strategies and tactics adopted by native and non-native speakers of English in the IELTS are not significantly different.We also examined the differences between the twelve pre-undergraduate and twelve pre-postgraduate Chinese native participants but found no significant differences at strategy, sub-strategy or tactical levels.The paper discusses possible reasons for the results based on the present findings from the present findings.

Project Publications

The report of this research is now available at BADGER, R. G. & YAN, X. 2009. The use of tactics and strategies by Chinese students in the listening component of IELTS., in THOMPSON, P. (Ed.) IELTS Research Reports. (pp 67-96). Cambridge: British Council and IELTS Australia.