Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

Major

Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Gary J. Ockey

Abstract

Second language (L2) placement exams utilized towards course placement decisions at higher-level educational institutions are considered “high-stakes” relative to the impact that the assessment outcome has on the individual student level as well consequences at the institutional level. Therefore, providing reliable second language assessments that effectively determine L2 learner language proficiency can lower course placement error issues. I argue that assessing a learner’s L2 listening comprehension is an integral part of the learner’s L2 experience within the Target Language Use (TLU) and that it could improve course placement accuracy. Furthermore, I argue for a listening construct that includes non-verbal communication and facial cues that videos provide in order to create an authentic test experience. Utilizing this construct, I then created an L2 Spanish listening comprehension exam utilizing authentic video material and created test items based on Brown (2005) multiple-choice guidelines. After incorporating feedback from the first phase of the test pilot, as the second phase I then administered the exam as a diagnostic the first two weeks of Fall 2017 semester to over four hundred currently enrolled WLC Spanish language students comprised of beginning through advanced language learners. Utilizing Classical Test Theory to guide my statistical analysis of test scores, results reveal a normal distribution of scores that parallels the representative distribution of test taker levels. Moreover, the Cronbach’s alpha reliability estimate of 0.73 reflects relatively good reliability. Item discrimination as well as distractor analysis reveal acceptable test items. Overall, this study suggests that it is possible to create a reliable multiple-choice video-delivered listening test for Spanish users that could conceivably be used to accurately place students into appropriate classes.

Copyright Owner

Jennifer Elise Musgrove

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

51 pages

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