English Language Preparatory Program

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Developing a rating scale for integrated assessment of reading-into-writing skills
    (De Gruyter Mouton, 2022-05-01) O'Grady, Stefan; Taşkesen, Özgür
    An important aspect of language assessment development is to create tasks that engage the competencies required in the target situation. For this reason, English-medium university entrance tests increasingly feature integrated reading-into-writing tasks as a way of enhancing target domain representation. Despite increased use of this task type, studies outlining the development of rating scales designed specifically for integrated assessments are rare. To this end, the study reports on the development of a rating scale to assess performance on an integrated reading-into-writing task as part of an English-medium university entrance test in Turkey. The authors discuss an iterative process of rating scale development involving examiner feedback, a focus group and many-facet Rasch measurement to validate the rating scale. The results indicate that the scale represents the integrated construct appropriately and reliably separates test candidates into different levels of ability. © 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.
  • ItemOpen Access
    IRT-based classification analysis of an english language reading proficiency subtest
    (SAGE, 2022) Kaya, Elif; O’Grady, Stefan; Kalender, İlker
    Language proficiency testing serves an important function of classifying examinees into different categories of ability. However, misclassification is to some extent inevitable and may have important consequences for stakeholders. Recent research suggests that classification efficacy may be enhanced substantially using computerized adaptive testing (CAT). Using real data simulations, the current study investigated the classification performance of CAT on the reading section of an English language proficiency test and made comparisons with the paper based version of the same test. Classification analysis was carried out to estimate classification accuracy (CA) and classification consistency (CC) by applying different locations and numbers of cutoff points. The results showed that classification was suitable when a single cutoff score was used, particularly for high- and low-ability test takers. Classification performance declined significantly when multiple cutoff points were simultaneously employed. Content analysis also raised important questions about construct coverage in CAT. The results highlight the potential for CAT to serve classification purposes and outline avenues for further research.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Adapting multiple-choice comprehension question formats in a test of second language listening comprehension
    (Sage Publications, 2021) O’Grady, Stefan
    The current study explores the impact of varying multiple-choice question preview and presentation formats in a test of second language listening proficiency targeting different levels of text comprehension. In a between-participant design, participants completed a 30-item test of listening comprehension featuring implicit and explicit information comprehension questions under one of four multiple-choice question preview and presentation conditions. Interactions between preview, presentation and comprehension in the participants’ test scores were analysed using many facet Rasch analysis. The results suggest that the measurement of participants’ listening ability was directly influenced by the presentation of multiple-choice questions. Test scores were highest when participants were able to preview the multiple-choice question stems before the sound file and listened to the options after the text had completed. However, interactions between preview and presentation conditions and comprehension level were only statistically significant in an analysis of the low scoring students’ item responses, which were more frequently correct when preview of item stems was available for questions targeting comprehension of implicit information. The research underscores the importance of accounting for test design when making inferences about language learners’ listening ability and will be of interest to teachers, practitioners and researchers developing listening assessment tasks.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Localized globalization: Directives in augmented reality game interaction
    (Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc., 2021-08-26) Sydorenko, T.; Thorne, S.; Hellermann, J.; Sanchez, A.; Howe, Vanessa Dawn
    In what has been termed the global era, individuals from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds frequently participate in joint activities that require intercultural communication. Concomitantly, research on communication in contexts involving mobile technologies is nascent, and investigations addressing pragmatics in particular are few. In this article, we examine place-based mobile augmented reality (AR) apps, which have been shown to provide learners with valuable opportunities for location-situated social and collaborative interaction and embodied experience of place. We focus on cataloguing social actions, specifically directives, in 4 groups of mobile AR game players using English as a lingua franca (ELF) to communicate. We uncovered a variety of directive strategies, both verbal and nonverbal, that are rarely discussed in pragmatics teaching and learning yet were critical to the unfolding communicative action. Implications of the study findings for pragmatics instruction are provided within the broader recommendations for ELF pragmatics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Study efforts, learning strategies and test anxiety when striving for language competence: the role of utility value, self-efficacy, and reasons for learning English
    (Routledge, 2020) Üner, Ayça; Mouratidis, Athanasios; Kalender, İlker
    Previous research has shown that utility value and expectancy for success, as well as the reasons for academic striving, could partly explain academic engagement. Yet, their joint role in predicting learning strategies and test anxiety has not been thoroughly understood, especially in contexts where pressure for success is high. We examined this issue in a sample of Turkish university students who were attending a language preparatory school (N = 1009; 53% males, Mage = 19.14 years; SD = 1.08) and were under the psychological pressure to pass their qualifying exams. Regression analyses showed that next to self-efficacy beliefs, it was intrinsic reasons which positively and consistently predicted learning strategies; in contrast, self-worth concerns positively predicted test anxiety. These relations emerged even among students who experienced failure and were thus psychologically pressed to succeed. Our findings suggest that intrinsic reasons for academic striving might play a decisive role even in psychologically pressuring contexts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Empowering the use of mobile-based vocabulary notebooks
    (Informascope, 2018) Zengin, Özlem; Aksu, M.
    The high demand on the mobile devices like smart phones and ipads in daily life has given a rise to mobile learning trends in second or foreign language learning. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in vocabulary achievement level of students keeping mobile-based and paper-based vocabulary notebooks in English language learning. The study was designed through a mixed method where a pre-post test control group quasiexperimental study was conducted. Data were collected through a vocabulary achievement test used as pre and post tests. The results indicated mobile-based vocabulary notebooks have positive effects on students’ vocabulary achievement
  • ItemOpen Access
    The impact of pre-task planning on speaking test performance for English-medium university admission
    (Sage Publications, 2019-03) O’Grady, Stefan
    This study investigated the impact of different lengths of pre-task planning time on performance in a test of second language speaking ability for university admission. In the study, 47 Turkish-speaking learners of English took a test of English language speaking ability. The participants were divided into two groups according to their language proficiency, which was estimated through a paper-based English placement test. They each completed four monologue tasks: two picture-based narrative tasks and two description tasks. In a balanced design, each test taker was allowed a different length of planning time before responding to each of the four tasks. The four planning conditions were 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. Trained raters awarded scores to the test takers using an analytic rating scale and a context-specific, binary-choice rating scale, designed specifically for the study. The results of the rater scores were analysed by using a multifaceted Rasch measurement. The impact of pre-task planning on test scores was found to be influenced by four variables: the rating scale; the task type that test takers completed; the length of planning time provided; and the test takers’ levels of proficiency in the second language. Increases in scores were larger on the picture-based narrative tasks than on the two description tasks. The results also revealed a relationship between proficiency and pre-task planning, whereby statistical significance was only reached for the increases in the scores of the lowest-level test takers. Regarding the amount of planning time, the 5-minute planning condition led to the largest overall increases in scores. The research findings offer contributions to the study of pre-task planning and will be of particular interest to institutions seeking to assess the speaking ability of prospective students in English-medium educational environments.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mary Austin’s proto-ecofeminist land ethic in The Ford (1917) and the Owens Valley water controversy
    (Taylor and Francis, 2018) Geçgil, E.
    Ecofeminism aims to establish a community ecology that is sustainable for both human and nonhuman beings, deconstructing the oppressor/oppressed identities that are prevalent in patriarchal society. Anticipating this proposition of ecofeminism, Mary Austin, a woman who became everything-a nature writer, a playwright, a poet, a short-story writer, a novelist, as well as a social activist-inspired many other women of her generation as well as those in the contemporary world, laying the foundations of ecofeminism. She rejected the nineteenth-century middle-class conventions of True Womanhood and embraced the twentieth-century New Womanhood, feminism, and environmentalism, serving as a link between the centuries. She embroiled herself in activism for the Owens Valley water during the California Water Wars (1902-07), a series of controversies between the city of Los Angeles and the farmers of the valley about the acquisition of water rights of Owens Valley. With a view to portraying such an eventful chapter in American history and disseminating her ecofeminist land ethic, Austin wrote her 1917 novel The Ford, blending her female identity as an activist with her literary talents. As a proto-ecofeminist, she depicts in The Ford how land speculation deprives people of their most essential need, water. 1 Suggesting a harmonious relationship between rivers and their beneficiaries, she questions ownership to the land-as she criticizes the patriarchal hegemony over women-and proposes to utilize rivers to make a living, yet being aware of the possibilities and limits of the landscape. All in all, with The Ford, she hints at what occurs when this fragile understanding is broken, and how the abuse of the river leads to the destruction of ecological parameters.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collaborative teaching reflection: insights into a globalized partnership
    (Oxford University Press, 2018) Eickhoff, L.; De Costa, P. I.
    When collaborating remotely and cross-culturally, negotiating control, navigating ambiguities in context, and recognizing one's own cultural influences require immense amounts of self-awareness when positioning oneself within a project. This is of particular relevance to the field of TESOL as the everexpanding realm of English language education brings with it an increasing number of partnerships between organizations and individuals from a diverse range of countries and contexts. In this study, two US-based TESOL graduate students, from Senegal and the United States, collaborated on a lesson plan to be implemented by an American university EFL teacher stationed in Timor- Leste. Through the process, the importance of fostering equity amongst Western and non-Western teaching philosophies and traditions, as well as grounding all decisions in a relevant cultural context, became imperative. Complicating measures, however, were resolved by accommodating diverse perspectives, building flexibility into lesson delivery, and trusting the intuitions of the teacher implementing the lesson.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The American suffrage movement and the novels of Marietta Holley and Elia Peattie as a means of cultural lobbying
    (Routledge, 2018) Geçgil, E.
    Women’s literary activity during the first two decades of the twentieth century, fuelled by the progressive spirit, served as a form of cultural lobbying through which they could articulate social and political problems and propose solutions. This article focuses on the struggle that enfranchised women by examining two long-forgotten suffrage novels, written in a period when grassroots activism, suffrage parades and house-to-house canvassing were a means of propaganda: Marietta Holley’s Samantha on the Woman Question (1913) and Elia Peattie’s The Precipice (1914). With her use of satire, Holley familiarizes her middle-class audience with women’s suffrage and politics. By presenting the plight of different women in a vernacular style, Holley addresses the older generation of anti-suffragist women, illuminating how countless unfortunate women are oppressed by a political system that does not acknowledge their presence. On the other hand, in The Precipice, Elia Peattie appeals to the younger generation of New Women, portraying the life of a twentieth-century social reformer, who tries to balance her career as a municipal housekeeper with the traditional roles and values of her day. The article argues that both novels functioned as catalysts to bring about social change at a time when, on the federal level at least, women still could not vote or hold an elected office. Thus, even before women were enfranchised, these novels influenced the beliefs and opinions of female audiences, for whom reading fiction was a favourable pastime. Without marginalizing female protagonists or blatantly alienating readers by transgressing socially accepted gender norms, these authors were able to find a middle ground, successfully creating role models who try to change society from within. By rendering the New Woman unthreatening, they challenged the ideology of separate spheres and prepared the public for the great changes ahead.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A study of in-service teacher educator roles, with implications for a curriculum for their professional development
    (Routledge, 2015) O’Dwyer, J. B.; Atlı, H. H.
    In-service educators have a crucial role to play in meeting the professional learning needs of teachers of the future, according to the Council of Europe’s ‘ET 2020’, although it is less clear what that role entails. This empirical study, undertaken in a university school of English language in Turkey, explores the everyday experience of a team of wholly school-based in-service educators and develops a model of their role based on an analysis of questionnaire, interview and focus group data. The results attest to the complexities of the in-service educator’s role, revealing them to be more than simply effective teachers. Catering for affective needs, coaching a broad range of clients, interpreting contextual variables and providing appropriate feedback represent some of the challenges in-service educators are facing in the research context, which set them apart and suggest important lessons for the development of an in-service educator training curriculum. © 2014, © 2014 Association for Teacher Education in Europe.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A case study on instructors' perceptions of writing exam grading criteria
    (Hacettepe University, 2013) Tarkan Yeloğlu, Yeşim; Seferoğlu, G.; Yeloğlu, H. O.
    This study was conducted to analyze the instructors' perceptions of the writing exam grading criteria used in the Faculty Academic English within the context of Freshman English courses at a private university in Turkey. Fifty-five instructors were involved in the study. The data were collected via quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments. Close-response items provided quantitative data and the qualitative data were derived from open-response items. The results indicate that the instructors believe the criteria help to establish standard grading across the program. However, they still have some doubts about the way the criteria are applied across the program while assessing students' writing. It is noteworthy that the instructors in this study had different perspectives and approaches while using the criteria in their own settings. Therefore, the results of this study highlight a crucial need for training the raters on how to apply any grading criteria to ensure objectivity in student assessment.