Vocational College Students’ Perceptions on Standardized English Proficiency Tests

| June 24, 2010
Vocational College Students Perceptions on Standardized English Proficiency Tests

Keywords: English proficiency testing, motivation, student perceptions, washback

Mei-Ling Chen
Hungkuang University, Taiwan

David Squires
Idaho State University, USA

Bio Data
Mei-Ling Chen graduated from National Taiwan Normal University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1994. She was a secondary EFL teacher for six years. In 1999 she completed a Master of Arts Degree in TESOL from Long Island University in New York. She earned her Ed.D. from Spalding University in 2004. She is now an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Foreign Languages, Hungkung University in Taiwan. Her research interests include teaching methods, second language acquisition, language learning strategies and learning styles.

David Squires earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2001. He is now an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education at Idaho State University. His research interests include literacy assessment, the use of children s literature in reading instruction, and the relationships between theoretical beliefs and instructional practices.

This study investigated vocational college students perspectives on the effectiveness of university measures designed to enhance performance on English proficiency tests—including a minimum proficiency in English to graduate and how English tests influenced student learning. A survey and semi-structured interviews were used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The study revealed that the participants were about equally divided on their opinion regarding the effectiveness of an English graduation requirement. Those in favor of the requirement thought the policy enhanced their English proficiency and increased competitiveness in future career and advanced studies. However, it provided little or no motivation for the participants to prepare for the tests. They were more motivated by scholarships and waving freshmen English.

See pages: 68-91

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 12 Issue 2