Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Research Seminars in TESOL and Language Studies

Appraisal Calibration and Strategic Competence in Second Language Learning or Use: A Fresh Look
Aek Phakiti
The University of Sydney

Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016
Time: 17.00 – 18.00 pm

Venue: Education 458, The University of Sydney
Strategic competence, which constitutes a set of metacognitive strategies (e.g., planning, monitoring, and evaluating) for regulating language use and other cognitive activities has been recognised as a significant cognitive factor that distinguishes successful learners from less successful ones (e.g., Bachman & Palmer 2010; Cohen 2011; Phakiti 2003, 2008; Purpura 1999). This presentation will introduce a cognitive construct called ‘appraisal calibration’ as a significant facet of strategic competence. Appraisal calibration denotes a perfect relationship between appraisal confidence in performance and actual performance outcome. A study of appraisal calibration aims to examine and evaluate an alignment between individuals’ appraisal confidence and their actual performance. Appraisal calibration or miscalibration thus indicates the nature of monitoring and self-appraisal accuracy. Research suggests that people have a tendency to be overconfident in their performance. However, good appraisal calibration is the metacognitive ability that distinguishes successful students from unsuccessful ones. In this presentation, theoretical frameworks underpinning calibration from cognitive and educational psychology will be discussed, along with some key findings from recent studies on second test takers’ calibration and strategic processing. Critical issues of overconfidence and underconfidence on performance will also be addressed. Implications for language teaching and learning, self-assessment practice and future research directions will be articulated.

Aek Phakiti is an Associate Professor in TESOL at The University of Sydney. His current research examines the nature of test takers’ calibration and strategy use in IELTS listening tasks. He is an author of Strategic Competence and EFL Reading Test Performance (Peter Lang, 2007), Experimental Research Methods in Language Learning (Bloomsbury, 2014), and with Carsten Roever, Quantitative Methods for Second Language Research: A problem-solving Approach (Routledge, forthcoming) and Language Testing and Assessment (Bloomsbury, forthcoming, 2018). With Brian Paltridge, he edited Continuum Companion to Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (2010, Continuum) and Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (2015, Bloomsbury) and and with Peter De Costa, Luke Plonsky and Sue Starfield, The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Linguistics Research Methodology (Palgrave, forthcoming). He has published in Language Learning, Language Testing and Language Assessment Quarterly. He is Associate Editor of Language Assessment Quarterly and University of Sydney Papers in TESOL. He is Vice President of ALTAANZ (Association for Language Testing and Assessment of Australia and New Zealand) (see further at

Enquiry: Aek Phakiti ( This is a free seminar.

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