The use of course grades as metrics in L2 research: A systematic review

Alan V. Brown, Luke D Plonsky, Yasser Teimouri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Much of applied linguistics research has been concerned with classroom-based second language (L2) development as it offers an ideal setting for examining the institutional ecology of L2 learning and teaching. However, scholars have continued to call for greater attention to the operationalization of constructs, selection of valid assessments, and use of appropriate statistical analyses. One cause for concern is the use of instructor-constructed evaluations for research purposes, commonly found both as single assessments and, in their composite form, as course grades. The present study examined justifications for and uses of course grades in L2 research by systematically searching, coding, and analyzing course grades as variables in a sample of published L2 research in four prominent L2 journals: Foreign Language Annals, Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, and TESOL Quarterly. To provide a concrete example, this meta-analysis investigated the relationship between L2 grades and anxiety. A number of suggestions for the use of grades and other assessment tools in educationally oriented L2 research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-778
Number of pages16
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • assessment
  • course grades
  • research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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