An Analysis of L2 Motivation, Test Validity and Language Proficiency Identity (LPID): A Vygotskian Approach

| December 19, 2011
An Analysis of L2 Motivation, Test Validity and Language Proficiency Identity (LPID): A Vygotskian Approach

Keywords: Language Testing; Test Validity; L2 Motivation; Identity; Sociocultural Theory

John F. Haggerty
Seoul National University, Seoul, South Kore

Bio Data
John F. Haggerty is currently a Visiting Professor and Teacher Trainer at Seoul National University, College of Education. For the last decade, he has been working in South Korea as an EFL/EAP instructor and teacher educator. He has worked at Sogang University, Yonsei University and Chonnam National University as well as a number of private language academies. In addition, he has been a speaking test rater and test writer for the last five years.

This paper explores the potential impact of high-stakes English testing on young English language learners (ELL) attitudes, beliefs, and motivations. A more meaningful role for consequential validity in language testing is sought through engagement with sociocultural theory, specifically Vygotskian conceptions of identity formation, in order to more fully contextualize a high-stakes learning environment, its effects on younger ELLs, and its implications for the test validation process. This initial phase, to be followed by a larger study, consisted of a pilot questionnaire developed from a working model of Language Proficiency Identity (LPID), and subsequently administered to 202 ELLs of various education levels. An analysis of responses to 20 questionnaire items was conducted on the basis of a) education level, and b) the completion of one of two high-stakes English tests. There were significant correlations found for 15/20 responses from middle-school students, 4/20 from high school students, and 0/20 from university students. These preliminary results suggest that high-stakes English testing has a more dramatic effect on the language proficiency identity of younger ELLs. Some implications for test validity are discussed in light of current theory and research on identity formation.

See pages 198-227

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 13 Issue 4