Learning to speak a foreign language can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor, involving verbal exchanges in a target language. It is a process that includes learning about, understanding, and to some extent identifying with members of another culture who speak a different language. The inclusion of collaborative activities in the language classroom provides a natural setting for conversation and increases the learners' opportunity to use the target language. When working in small groups or in pairs, students are practically forced to communicate to accomplish a learning task. Students learn together so they are subsequently able to perform better individually.
The primary purpose of the current study was to examine if a collaborative assessment preparation strategy with immediate feedback used in an intensive adult English language program at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLI) had an effect on achievement, confidence and satisfaction with the learning experience. A secondary purpose was to examine the relationships among students' entry proficiency level, language anxiety, confidence, satisfaction and achievement when DLI students used the collaborative strategy. DLI provides English language training to members of foreign militaries from over 100 countries. This quasi-experimental study included 76 participants from 21 different countries, enrolled in upper-intermediate General English courses at DLI. The instructional intervention used by participants in the experimental group included individual and pair completion of practice quizzes using immediate feedback assessment technique (IF AT) answer sheets. Participants in the control condition went through the same lesson plans as their experimental group peers but without completing any of the practice quizzes. Data were collected over the course of one week using test scores, survey instruments, interviews and classroom observations.
Results showed that there was no significant difference between control group and experimental group on the outcome measures. However, the relationship between confidence and achievement was significant. Analysis of learner perceptions of the instructional strategy revealed three overarching themes: (1) students valued collaborating and discussing with peers during quiz completion; (2) the feedback they received; and (3) learning from their mistakes. Students perceived making mistakes and disagreements with their partners as less enjoyable. Instructors mentioned the immediate feedback learners received, the active learner engagement, and learner confidence as the most beneficial attributes of the intervention. The overarching concern of instructors was the time it took to complete the quizzes, due to the already limited time available to cover course content.
Limitations of the study include the short data collection period resulting in limited exposure to the intervention, the uniqueness of the participants, and the inclusion of only upper-intermediate level books in the experiment. Future research should include all levels of the General English curriculum, participant scores from practice quizzes, and learner perceptions by culture group.
|Advisor:||Klein, James D.|
|Commitee:||Dennen, Vanessa P., Milligan, Jeffrey A., Roehrig, Alysia|
|School:||The Florida State University|
|Department:||Educational Psychology & Learning Systems|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Achievement, Anxiety, Assessment, Collaboration, Confidence, Practice quiz|
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