Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

William P. Foster, EdD, Director; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD


education, English as a Second Language--ESL, exchange student, General Test of English as a Foreign Language--G-TELP, performance, second wave learners, Test of English as a Foreign Language--TOEFL


The ESL (English as a Second Language) field has traditionally focused on foreign students who come to the United States to learn English to pursue an academic degree. Those students gain English proficiency, earn a degree, and often return home to be leaders in their countries. The author has titled these students first wave learners. As those newly trained leaders return home, they are met by a group of potential followers who do not speak English. These potential followers, or second wave learners, need to acquire English skills to join with their leaders in accessing professional and technical resources and communicating with other partners in the development process. The second wave is less well educated, will not earn a college degree or study English. First wave learners have traditionally taken the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), which is internationally recognized yet inappropriate for the second wave learners due to its focus on academic English. The G-TELP (General Test of English as a Foreign Language) is designed to test the real world English skills required by second wave learners. This dissertation examines the relationship between scores earned by subjects on the G-TELP and the TOEFL. The G-TELP is a criterion-referenced test while the TOEFL is a norm-referenced test. 281 subjects were tested at five university-based ESL institutes throughout the country. Subjects were given the G-TELP approximately two weeks before taking the TOEFL to determine the concurrent validity of the tests. A moderate positive relationship was found between overall G-TELP and TOEFL scores, and for the listening and vocabulary/reading section scores as well. The findings suggest that while there is significant overlap in the English language knowledge and skills tested by the G-TELP and TOEFL, the tests do assess different types of English proficiency. It is hoped that the information gained through this study will support the adoption of G-TELP abroad for testing a new group of English language learners in Third World countries who are essential to the economic, social and political development of the region. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access