Abstract

This study examined the effect of two forms of feedback (qualitatitive and quantitative) on the development of the spoken fluency of English language learners. Sixty-five intermediate- high students from 22 countries and 11 native languages enrolled in an intensive English language program at the English Language Center, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, participated.Throughout the 11-week course, the treatment group (consisting of 33 participants) received feedback on a weekly basis during speaking assessment tasks. The first form of feedback consisted of a quantitative analysis of their spoken fluency. This analysis, performed by PRAAT acoustic analysis software, measured several key features: speech rate (syllables per minute), pause frequency and duration, fillers, false starts, and connectedness of speech (mean length of run). In addition to measurements of their own performance, participants were presented with data on the average performance of their peers, as well as measurements of how closely their performance approximated the fluency measurements of a native speaker.The second form of feedback was qualitative, consisting of written descriptions of the participants` dysfluencies including fillers, high pause frequency and duration, low speech rate and false starts. Participants also received qualitative feedback in the form of self-assessment where they analyzed their own previously made recordings.Following the completion of the treatment, participants completed a survey eliciting their perceptions of the forms and effectiveness of feedback they had received over the course of the treatment. Though participants reported that the feedback (especially the qualitative variety) was useful, through statistical analysis of test and task scores it was found that other than for filler and false starts, feedback was not a significant factor in influencing the students' improvement over the course of the semester, and it is probable that other factors (task repetition) played a larger role.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2014-07-02

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd7173

Keywords

fluency, qualitative feedback, quantitative feedback, attention, task repetition, ESL

Included in

Linguistics Commons

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