An investigation of the possibility of assessing general language proficiency and reading proficiency in English as a foreign language through scrambled-lettered texts

José Herbet de Lavor Rolim, Ronaldo Mangueira Lima Júnior


Reading Scrambled-Lettered Texts (SLT) is a complex activity, related to many factors, including language proficiency. This study investigates the possibility of using SLT as an integrative method to assess language and reading proficiency in English as a Foreign Language (EFL). A SLT reading test in English was applied to ten Brazilian EFL learners and the results were compared to their global and reading scores in the TOEFL ITP. Despite the limitation of the sample size, a negative correlation between the TOEFL scores and the number of errors in the SLT test was found. The results were significant in terms of p-value in four out of six cases and the presence of an outlier suggested an even higher correlation and relevance. A Portuguese SLT test was also applied to the sample, and the participants, who had a similar level of education, presented homogeneous results, contrasting with those found in the English test.


EFL proficiency; reading proficiency, scrambled-lettered texts, foreign language assessment.

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