Identifying the relationship between various learner characteristics and improvement on a language proficiency course for Malaysian teachers

Derbyshire, Robert (2016) Identifying the relationship between various learner characteristics and improvement on a language proficiency course for Malaysian teachers. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Abstract

Most language teachers want to be able to evaluate the progress their learners make throughout a course of instruction. They may also want to compare the results of different groups or types of learner in order to better understand what factors influence the amount and type of progress observed. This progress or ‘language improvement’ can be measured in a number of ways using a great many tools, including standardised tests, informal tasks, simple observations and learner self-evaluations.

This mixed-methods enquiry will draw on both numerical test scores and discussions with course trainers and managers, to identify relationships between four learner characteristics (age, gender, work background and starting proficiency) and language improvement on a yearlong English course for Malaysian teachers.

Nearly 2000 participant proficiency test results were analysed, and results were compared to the feedback provided from six course trainers and two managers. Analysis of the data shows that while it is clear that starting proficiency and work background both played a key role in determining the amount of language improvement noted, with significantly significant differences in mean test scores between the groups, trainers were not in complete agreement over the nature or strength of this relationship. Equally, although test score analysis shows very little in the way of a relationship between the variables of age and gender and overall language improvement, comments from trainers and managers suggests that there may be more of a relationship than the test-scores imply.

I make recommendations in line with these findings which attempt to address the kind of learner characteristics that may lead to reduced opportunities for language acquisition.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Gigg, Diane
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2017 12:59
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 22:56
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/43741

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