The Predictive Validity of an ESL Placement Test: A Mixed Methods Approach

Young ju Lee, Jennifer Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the relationships between graduate students’ placement test scores for English as a second language (ESL) and three measures of academic performance (grade point average [GPA], faculty evaluations, and student self-assessments). Qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques (archival, questionnaires, and interviews) were used to collect data from 100 students and 55 faculty members. Although nonsignificant correlations were found between test scores and GPA, qualitative findings indicated that English skills are an important factor affecting students’ course performance. Additional mixed methods analyses found that variations in students’ views of academic success and their relevant background knowledge can help explain the overall insignificant relationship between ESL placement test scores and GPA. This mix of methods thus illuminated particular strands of the complex relationships between English proficiencies and graduate-level academic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-389
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Mixed Methods Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • ESL placement tests
  • educational measurement
  • language assessment
  • mixed methods approach
  • predictive validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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