2023 Volume 8 Issue 1 Pages 47-61
In EFL teaching and research, multiword vocabulary (i.e., phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions) is often given little attention. In Japan, emphasis is placed on learning single-word units in EFL education in order to pass entrance examinations (Yoshitomi et al., 2006). However, the lack of focus on multiword units may have consequences on learnersʼ ability to comprehend or produce natural English (e.g., Liao & Fukuya, 2004; Yasuda, 2010). Given the potential value of multiword vocabulary learning, the purpose of this study is to determine if there is such a general correlation between general English proficiency, as measured by standardized tests, and the ability to interpret phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions. We conducted a meta-analysis of scores from multiword vocabulary tests taken by students at three different universities that include five different groups (N = 366, 688, 33, 40, and 30) and their scores on three different standardized English tests (i.e., TOEFL ITP®, TOEIC®, and Pearsonʼs Benchmark). Using a random effects meta-analysis, we found a mean effect of 0.488, indicating that there is a medium-sized general trend for students who achieved higher scores on a multiword test to also score higher on standardized tests.