CAE processing

Investigating learners’ cognitive processes during computer-based CAE reading tests

Bax, S and Weir, C.

Funding body: Cambridge ESOL

This project investigates the cognitive processes employed by participants carrying out computer-based CAE reading tests. It takes as its starting point the cognitive processing approach with its set of cognitive processes identified and researched by Khalifa and Weir.

In addition it draws on the methods for investigating those processes adopted in Weir, Hawkey, Green, & Devi’s study (2009), and complements and extends them using innovative screen recording and eye tracking technology, as well as improving other aspects of the methodology.

The study employs the Tobii T series or X series eye tracking units, along with screen recording, to track the eye movements of readers. These will furnish data concerning users’ reading behaviour, and will also be used as direct stimuli for the retrospective protocol interviews.

The data from the retrospective responses will be analysed in conjunction with the eye tracking data and the retrospective stimulated recall to provide a detailed view of users’ cognitive processes when completing a computer based reading test.


  • Khalifa, H & Weir, C (2009) Examining Reading Cambridge UCLES: Cambridge University Press
  • Weir, C. J., Hawkey, R. Green, T., Devi, S. (2009) ‘The cognitive processes underlying the academic reading construct as measured by IELTS’, British Council/IDP Australia Research Reports Volume 9: 157-189.


Professor Tony Green
Director of CRELLA
University of Bedfordshire
Putteridge Bury
Hitchin Road
Luton, Bedfordshire


+44 (0)1582 489086