Learners' perceptions of language proficiency, language test-taking strategies and emotional regulation in a test-taking context: a case study in an Egyptian EFL context
AbstractThis study investigated adult EFL learners' perceptions of English language proficiency, identified their test-taking strategies and emotional regulation processes during test-taking and explored the relationship between test-takers' reported use of test-taking strategies and emotional regulation on the one hand and their performance on an English language placement test on the other. The study was conducted in the Center for Adult & Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo. The rationale for this study was two fold. Firstly, given that there is a variety of interpretations of the construct of English language proficiency, no empirically derived definition of language proficiency was available for this particular context. Secondly, a lack of research was found investigating test-taking strategies, emotional regulation and test performance within a process approach. Expanding on the Bachman & Palmer (1996) model, a Language Testing Processing (LTP) model was proposed. A mixed methods approach was used integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in different stages of the study. The context-specific definition of the construct of language proficiency was based on data collected from 36 learners using a semi-structured interview and from 41 teachers using an open-ended questionnaire. Test-taking strategies and emotional regulation processes were identified from think aloud data obtained from 12 test-takers who were asked to verbalize their thoughts and feelings while they took a placement test. Based on the think aloud data and the literature, the Test-Taking Strategies Questionnaire (TTSQ) was designed to investigate the relationship between test-taking strategies, emotional regulation and language test performance. The TTSQ was administered to 497 test-takers after they completed the placement test. Correlations, analysis of variance and discriminant analysis showed that emotional regulation influences the selection of particular test-taking strategies, which in turn is associated with performance on a language placement test. The LTP model was supported and further refined by the think aloud and quantitative data. The insights gained on perceptions of language proficiency, test-taking strategies and affective factors that influence test performance are discussed and the implications of these results on curriculum designers, test developers and teachers are presented.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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