The Relationship between Metacognitive Awareness and EFL Listening Performance: Focusing on IELTS Higher and Lower Scorers


listening test performance, metacognitive awareness, metacognitive strategies, more-proficient and less-proficient listeners


This study aims to investigate the relationship between language learners' metacognitive awareness (Planning and Evaluation, Problem Solving, Directed Attention, Mental Translation and Person Knowledge) and their performance on the listening section of IELTS. This study employs both quantitative and qualitative data analyses. Based on the participants’ performance on the IELTS test, the participants were identified as less (N=34) or more-proficient (N=32) listeners. The listeners' perceived use of metacognitive strategies was measured using Vandergrift, Goh, Mareschal, and Tafaghodtari (2006) Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire. Two less- and two more-proficient listeners were randomly selected from among the participants to participate in a stimulated recall session on their IELTS responses. The results suggested that (1) listeners' metacognitive awareness had a positive relationship with the listening test performance; (2) more-proficient listeners reported significantly higher use of problem solving and directed attention strategies than the less-proficient listeners; (3) less-proficient listeners tended to use mental translation strategy; and (4) there was no difference between the more-proficient and the less-proficient listeners in planning and evaluation and person knowledge.