Research Interests and Specialties

Second language acquisition (SLA) and pedagogy

  • Learning and teaching of second language writing
  • Second language assessment
  • Second-language program evaluation
  • English for academic purposes
  • Mixed methods research

Current Research Projects

The assessment conceptions and practices of ESL writing teachers: A cross-sectional study of their characteristics and development (May 2009-present; Research project funded by a SSHRC Small Grant):

This small-scale study examines and compares the beliefs that novice and experienced teachers of ESL writing hold about the development, teaching and assessment of second-language writing, whether and how these conceptions evolve over time, and how they influence teachers’ assessment practices.

An Investigation of the Impact of Computer Skills on Test-Takers’ Writing Processes and Scores in the TOEFL iBT Writing Section. (July 2010-March 2012; Research project funded by a TOEFL Committee of Examiners Research Grant).

This mixed-methods study investigates the role of computer skills in performance on TOEFL iBT. Specifically, it examines and compares both the scores and writing processes (specifically, pausing and revision behaviors) of test-takers with different levels of computer skills and English language proficiency when responding to the TOEFL iBT integrated and independent writing tasks.


Barkaoui, K. (in press). Think-aloud protocols in research on essay rating: An empirical study of their veridicality and reactivity. Language Testing.

Barkaoui, K. (in press). Explaining ESL essay holistic scores: A multilevel modeling approach. Language Testing, 28.

Barkaoui, K., Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (in press). Examining the quality of measures of change in cognition and affect for older adults: Two case studies.Journal of Aging Studies, 25(2).

Barkaoui, K., So, M., & Suzuki, W. (in press). Is it relevant? The role of off-task talk in collaborative learning. Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Barkaoui, K. (2010). Do ESL essay raters’ evaluation criteria change with experience? A mixed-methods cross-sectional study. TESOL Quarterly, 44(1), 31-57.

Barkaoui, K. (2010). Variability in ESL essay rating processes: The role of rating scale and rater experience. Language Assessment Quarterly 7(1), 54-74.

Barkaoui, K. (2009). [Review of Chapelle, C. A., Enright, M. K., & Jamieson, J. M. (Eds.), Building a validity argument for the Test of English as a Foreign Language]. Canadian Modern Language Review, 65, 657-659.

Spada, N., Barkaoui, K., Peters, C., So, M., & Valeo, A. (2009). Developing a questionnaire to investigate second-language learners’ preferences for two types of form-focused instruction. System 37(1).

Swain, M., Huang, L. S., Barkaoui, K., Brooks, L., & Lapkin, S. (2009). The speaking section of the TOEFL iBT™ (SSTiBT): Test-takers’ reported strategic behaviors (TOEFL iBT™ Research Series No. TOEFLiBT-10). Princeton, NJ: ETS.

Barkaoui, K. (2007). Participants, texts, and processes in second language writing assessment: A narrative review of the literature. The Canadian Modern Language Review 64, 97-132.

Barkaoui, K. (2007). Rating scale impact on EFL essay marking: A mixed-method study. Assessing Writing, 12, 86-107.

Barkaoui, K. (2007). Revision in second language writing: What teachers need to know. TESL Canada Journal, 25, 81-92.

Barkaoui, K. (2007). Sources of variability in second language writing: Learner and task characteristics. Contact 33(3), 36-45.

Barkaoui, K. (2007). Teaching writing to second language learners: Some insights from theory and research. TESL Reporter 40, 35-48.

Ross, J., A., Barkaoui, K., & Scott, G. (2007). Evaluations that consider the cost of educational programs: The contribution of high-quality studies. American Journal of Evaluation, 28, 477-492.

Barkaoui, K. & Fei, J. (2006). Students’ and instructors’ assessments of the attainment of writing goals. In A. Cumming (Ed.), Goals for academic writing: ESL students and their instructors (pp. 90-107). Amsterdam: John Benjamins