Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Anxieties and achievement goals: Their relationships in contexts of learning Chinese as a foreign language
by Hsiao, Ching Hung, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2014, 120; 3614967
Abstract (Summary)

In this study, I investigated language anxiety and the relationships between language anxieties and achievement goals among college students in the context of learning Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. Specifically, I focused on the following research question: Does the level of anxiety during the learning of Chinese differ according to achievement goals (performance, learning), and if so, is the level of anxiety related to language tasks and/or length of time studying Chinese as a foreign language? Based on previous theories about anxiety (Eysenk, 1992, 1997; Hozwitz, 2010) and achievement goals related to cognitive processes and behaviors (Dweck, 2000), I used a quantitative method to examine the research question. A mixed-design ANOVA, residual effects, and contrast analysis were conducted to analyze the data. When the hypotheses were examined against empirical evidence, all three were supported. First, anxiety levels differed according to the particular language tasks: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Reading tasks (such as reading aloud) aroused the highest levels of anxiety, arguably because activation of the phonological and semantic information inherent to the unique visual word form of the Chinese language poses a significant challenge to students of Chinese. Second, students with a performance goal experienced higher levels of anxiety than students with a learning goal. The effect was greater for speaking and writing anxiety. Third, length of study moderated students' anxiety levels during the performance of various tasks according to their achievement goals. Overall, students experienced the most anxiety while reading, followed by writing, listening and speaking. This effect was greater for students with a performance goal than students with a learning goal among students who had studied Chinese for less than a year. For students who had studied Chinese for more than a year, the pattern of anxiety was reversed. As there are limitations in the research design, a confirmatory factor analysis to verify the reliability and validity of the developed instruments in a new sample is certainly warranted. Further research, such as examining the relationship between fluctuating levels of anxiety and learning strategies according to students' achievement goals and length of study, is called for.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Douthit, Kathryn
Commitee: Lynch, Martin, Osburg, John
School: University of Rochester
Department: Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern language, Educational psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Achievement goal, Anxiety, Chinese, Foreign language, Language task, Length of study
Publication Number: 3614967
ISBN: 978-1-303-80668-1
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