Strategies used in receptive language test tasks

Project management
Cognition, Competences, Didactics, Evaluation, Teaching

This doctoral thesis used qualitative research methods and adopted an exploratory-interpretative approach. Although conducted as an independent study, it forms part of the RCM project “Innovative forms of assessment (IFB)”, a quantitative study that aimed to better understand the validity of new, scenario-based task and item types.

Introspective research procedures were used to investigate which strategies lower secondary school students apply when completing computer-based listening and reading comprehension test tasks in French. Further, the study explored which construct-irrelevant strategies (Cohen, 2014) allowed students to complete the tasks (or not) and tried to determine whether embedding test tasks in an overarching scenario influences how students apply strategies. The scenario-based test tasks examined in the study were developed in the IFB project. Data on students’ thought processes and problem-solving skills were gathered using the think-aloud method and subsequent stimulated recall interviews in two-hour individual sessions with 30 students. 

This two-pronged approach to data collection was adopted to counterbalance the weaknesses of one method with the strengths of the other, in accordance with the principle of triangulation. The think-aloud and stimulated recall sessions were recorded using OBS software and the computer camera, then transcribed using the GAT 2 basic transcription system. The transcripts of 20 students were selected on the basis of predefined criteria and interpreted using principles of qualitative content analysis (Kuckartz, 2018).


Barras, M. (2021). Strategien beim Lösen von rezeptiven Sprachtestaufgaben [Universität Freiburg/Schweiz].