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Title:Native Languages and Differential Dimensionality of English as a Second Language Test Proficiency: An Exploratory Study
Author(s):Sawatdirakpong, Sumalee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Davidson, Fred
Department / Program:Education
Discipline:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Tests and Measurements
Abstract:This study explored whether native languages of examinees had any influence on the dimensional structure of the abilities underlying English-as-a-second-language proficiency test performance. Item response data on Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of four different native languages, namely, Arabic, Chinese, French and Thai, were analyzed. The three major findings are as follows: First, overall there were small differences in the average performances among the examinees of the four language groups, although examinees of one native-language group performed better on one test section than on the others. The Arabic group outperformed all other groups on Listening (Section 1), but the Thai group outperformed the other groups on Structure and Written Expression (Section 2) and Vocabulary and Reading (Section 3). Second, high correlations were found between the item difficulty indices of all the native-language pairs. The highest correlations were between the Chinese and the French examinees on each of the three test sections, whereas the lowest correlations were between the Chinese and the Thai. In terms of item discriminability indices, the correlations between different pairs of native languages were not as high, and no consistent pattern of the correlations could be identified. The Listening items discriminated significantly better among the Arabic than any of the other three language groups. Third, exploratory factor analyses revealed two and three factors underlying the examinees' test performances. Two highly similar factors were identified for the Chinese and the French, one underlying the Listening and the other underlying the Structure and Written Expression and the Vocabulary and Reading. Three factors were identified for the Arabic and the Thai, one factor also underlying the Listening and the other two factors underlying the Structure and Written Expression and the Vocabulary and Reading. For both the Arabic and the Thai groups, not all the Reading items loaded on one single factor. Sets of the Reading items with low item difficulty indices tended to share an underlying factor with the Vocabulary items, whereas those with high item difficulty indices tended to share with the Structure and Written Expression items.
Issue Date:1993
Type:Text
Description:213 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/71962
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9411776
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1993


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