Although it is assumed that students who study abroad will return with improved oral proficiency, a review of research findings revealed that oral gains are not guaranteed for all. The literature review addressed the need to investigate the quality of study abroad (SA) programs as it relates to fostering students’ oral proficiency. This study investigated the ways in which an SA program in Ecuador fostered undergraduate students’ oral proficiency through interviews and documentary research. Data analysis of interviews with the program’s staff and documents revealed that the program facilitated oral proficiency through Spanish classes, the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)-preparation class, native speaker interaction, intentionality, and outings. A survey capturing students’ perceptions of the program indicated that students found the OPI-preparation class to be the most helpful and outings to be the least helpful in their oral proficiency development. Overall, students reported that they found the program to be quite effective in helping them improve orally and that they were satisfied with their progress. Finally, a comparison of pre- and post-OPIc results revealed that all students had gained one proficiency level at the conclusion of the program. The present study provides implications for SA programs and higher education institutions for assisting students with their oral proficiency development while abroad. It also gives recommendations for future research of proficiency-based SA programs.
|Advisor:||Nisbet, Deanna L.|
|Commitee:||Arroyo, Alan A., Carr, Paul B.|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Virginia|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Foreign language education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Curriculum design, Oral Proficiency Interview, Oral proficiency, Study abroad|
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