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The effect of including non-native accents in English listening tests for young learners: psychometric and learner perspectives

Dai, David Wei; (2015) The effect of including non-native accents in English listening tests for young learners: psychometric and learner perspectives. Masters thesis (M.APLING), University of Melbourne. Green open access

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Abstract

As English has been used widely as a lingua franca for communication, language testers have started to evaluate the proposal for introducing non-native accents into the listening input of English tests. This study aims to further this debate from both the psychometric and learner perspectives by not only investigating how accents influence test takers’ performance, but also eliciting their subjective perception of accents. 80 young L1-Mandarin test takers were recruited and divided into four groups, with each group listening to one accented version of the same test. The four accents used in this study were Australian, Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin English accents. Test takers subsequently completed a Likert-scale questionnaire, which measured their accent perception on three sub-scales, Familiarity, Comprehension and Attitude. Results indicate that the Mandarin accent group performed significantly better than the other three groups in the test and also perceived the Mandarin accent significantly more comprehensible, lending support for the shared-L1 effect. No significant difference is observed among the three non-Mandarin groups whether in the test scores or the Comprehension sub-scale. There is no significant difference in test takers’ perception of the four accents in terms of Familiarity or Attitude. The central implication from this study is that there is potential for the inclusion of non-native accents into listening tests provided the shared-L1 effect can be properly addressed.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.APLING
Title: The effect of including non-native accents in English listening tests for young learners: psychometric and learner perspectives
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10186054
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