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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Jazlin Ebenezer

Abstract

ABSTRACT

COMPUTER ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR SPANISH ORAL PROFICIENCY

by

MAY RITTA BLUESTEIN

December 2017

Advisor: Dr. Jazlin Ebenezer

Major: Curriculum and Instruction

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

This three-article five-chapter dissertation is focused on improving high school students’ Spanish oral proficiency through computer assisted language learning (CALL) voice-recordings, and examining the effect of the intervention on foreign language anxiety and integrative motivation. The main goals of the study as a whole were to (1) investigate students’ CALL voice-recordings to determine students’ Spanish oral proficiency development, (2) identify significant differences between the experimental and control group in terms of Spanish oral proficiency, anxiety and integrative motivation, and (3) investigate experimental and control students’ perceptions of their Spanish oral proficiency, anxiety and integrative motivation as a result of the CALL voice-recordings and traditional oral assessments, respectively. Overall, the study employed a mixed-methods approach. Article one consisted of an intervention on fourteen Spanish level-two high school students, engaging them in eight successive CALL task voice-recordings, which were transcribed verbatim and translated. The student scores for each of the eight CALL task voice-recordings were collected to assess the development of students’ oral proficiency. A post-intervention focus group interview and self-reflective journals were used to identify the qualitatively differing ways the students perceived their experiences using the CALL curricular unit for developing their Spanish oral proficiency. Articles two and three employed a mixed methods approach, using quantitative measures such as the Foreign Language Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) and the mini-Attitude and Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) to find significant differences in anxiety and integrative motivation between the experimental and control group. FLCAS and mini-AMTB data were collected and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U tests comparing both groups; anxiety and motivation levels. Qualitative post-focus group interviews were conducted with experimental and control students, and experimental students’ perceptions were written in a self-reflective journal post-study. In article one, the qualitative results of the CALL tasks oral recordings revealed that the students’ Spanish oral language proficiency meaningful output was high, medium, or low. Specific areas of students’ growth in verb conjugation or weakness in pronunciation, expressions and vocabulary, and grammatical structures were also identified. The qualitatively differing ways students perceived CALL task recordings were as follows: anxiety decrease, motivation and confidence increase, and speaking improvement. Friedman’s tests were run to find significant differences in the students’ oral proficiency from one to eight consecutive tasks. The p-values 0.003, 0.007, 0.002, 0.003, and 0.007 of the students’ scores on CALL tasks (2, 4, 5, 6, and 7) respectively, when compared to task 8, show a significant difference. Too, these quantitative results indicate that students’ meaningful output significantly improved by the time they reached the last task. In article two, Mann-Whitney U tests were run to find significant differences in the experimental group’s anxiety in comparison to the control group’s anxiety, both pre-and post study. Pearson correlations were run to find that a strong correlation exists between post-FLCAS scores and students’ achievement, and the results of the post-focus group interviews and self-reflective journals show a decrease in anxiety by the end of the study, corroborating the negative correlation found between anxiety and achievement. In article three, Mann-Whitney U tests were run to find significant differences in the experimental group’s integrative motivation in comparison to the control group’s integrative motivation, both pre- and post-study. Pearson correlations were run to find that a strong correlation exists between post-mini AMTB scores and students’ achievement. The results of the post-focus group interviews, and experimental students’ reflective journals, show an increase in motivation and confidence by the end of the study, corroborating the positive correlation found between integrative motivation and achievement. The results of article one imply CALL task oral recordings accompanied by self-evaluation and teacher feedback help students develop oral proficiency, archive meaningful output, monitor their own learning, and experience lower anxiety, higher motivation, and confidence towards speaking Spanish. Article two implies that increased oral communication experience leads to decreased anxiety, CALL oral tasks specifically help in decreasing anxiety towards speaking, and such decrease in anxiety leads to achievement on other assessments. Finally, article three implies that increased oral communication experience leads to increased integrative motivation, CALL oral tasks specifically help to increase motivation towards speaking, and such increase in motivation leads to achievement on other assessments.

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