About Dr Aek Phakiti

Aek’s research focusses on an understanding of the roles of individual learner factors in language learning and use (e.g. strategic ability and self-regulation) in various contexts. He employs both quantitative and qualitative research methods to achieve this research. The fact that second language learning, acquisition and use are highly complex, multidimensional and variable in nature, depending upon a variety of social and contextual factors, remains his motivation to continue his research.

Aek Phakiti researches language testing and assessment, second language acquisition (SLA), aspects of strategic competence, metacognition, self-regulation and calibration in language learning, second language reading and language program evaluation.


Aek Phakiti is a lecturer in TESOL in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. He completed his PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Melbourne in 2005. His PhD thesis examined the relationships of state-trait cognitive, metacognitive and affective strategy use to EFL reading comprehension test performance through the use of a structural equation modeling approach. He lectures on second language acquisition, language testing and assessment and research methods in language learning in the MEd program in TESOL at the University of Sydney. He is author of Strategic Competence and EFL Reading Test Performance (Peter Lang, 2007). He is currently working on an edited book on “Continuum Companion to Research Methods in Applied Linguistics” with Brian Paltridge (Continuum). He has published his research in Language Testing, Language Learning and Language Assessment Quarterly journals. He is editor of the University of Sydney Papers in TESOL and has served as a member of the editorial board of JALT Journal (Japanese Association of Language Teaching) and Language Assessment Quarterly.His major interest in language testing research concerns questions of validation by quantitative and qualitative means. His current interest involves an attempt to understand the factors affecting language test performance which include four major influences: communicative language ability (CLA); test-method facets; individual characteristics; and random measurement error (Bachman & Palmer, 1996). Aek is interested in understanding the nature of strategic competence and self-regulation and their effects on second language learning or performance cross-sectionally and longitudinally. His attempt to add some insights to the applied linguistic, TESOL and language learning and teaching literature can be seen from his previous publications that investigated the nature of strategy use in relation to second language performance (Phakiti, 2003a, 2003b, 2006, 2007b, 2008a, 2008b). From his research, he has realized that even with a longitudinal research design, the complexity of the interactions between strategic ability and second language performance can be at time highly subtle and can never be captured and understood completely. His current research looks at the nature of calibration as a function of strategic processing. Calibration denotes the perfect relationship between confidence in performance and the actual performance. In his current studies (Phakiti, 2005, 2007a), he found that second language learners were poorly miscalibrated. Although more research is needed in this area, the findings suggested the need to explicitly instruct learners how to provide valid confidence in language learning performance. If second language learners’ judgment process could be improved via training or explicit instruction in formalized education, this would have obvious applied benefits. In addition to these research areas, he is interested in the predictive validity of diagnostic, placement, and gate-keeping tests, and is currently undertaking a longitudinal investigation of the predictive value of language proficiency test scores on students’ academic performance.

Selected publications

BooksPaltridge, B., Harbon, L., Hirsh, D. Phakiti, A., Shen, H., Stevenson, M. & Woodrow, L. (2008). Teaching academic writing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Phakiti, A. (2007). Strategic competence and EFL reading test performance. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Book Chapters*Phakiti, A. (2007). On the nature of L2 test takers’ calibration in a reading test. In C. Gitsaki (Ed.), Language and languages: Global and local tensions (pp. 218-235). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Journal ArticlesPhakiti, A. (2008). Construct validation of Bachman and Palmer’s (1996) strategic competence model over time in EFL reading tests. Language Testing, 25(2), 237-272. This article models a complex relationship between strategic knowledge, strategic regulation and two reading test performances over time through the use of structural equation modeling.Phakiti, A. (2008). Strategic competence as a third-order factor. Language Assessment Quarterly, 5(1), 20-42. This article tested a latent, unobservable strategic competence model that underlined strategic knowledge and strategic regulation over time through structural equation modeling.Phakiti, A. (2006). Modeling cognitive and metacognitive strategies and their relationships to EFL reading test performance. Melbourne Papers in Language Testing, 11, 53-102.Phakiti, A. (2006). Theoretical and pedagogical issues in ESL/EFL teaching of strategic reading. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 1, 19-50.Phakiti, A. (2005). An empirical investigation into the nature of and factors affecting test takers’ calibration within the context of an English Placement Test (EPT). Spaan Fellow Working Papers in Second or Foreign Language Assessment, 3, 27-46.Phakiti, A. (2003). A closer look at gender differences in strategy use in L2 reading. Language Learning, 53(4), 649-702. This article examines the interaction between gender and strategy use and shows the complex effect of gender on strategy use.Phakiti, A. (2003). A closer look at the relationship of cognitive and metacognitive strategy use to EFL reading comprehension test performance. Language Testing, 20(1), 26-56. This article analyses the extent to which strategies accounts for language test performance and how highly successful test takers differ from moderately successful and unsuccessful ones in terms of these variables. This article was ranked No. 9 for the 50 most read articles in Language Testing in November, 2007.