Pronunciation’s role in English speaking-proficiency ratings
Although pronunciation is an integral part of speaking, the role pronunciation plays in determining speaking-proficiency levels is unclear (Higgs & Clifford, 1982; Kang, 2013). To contribute to our understanding of this area, the research reported here investigated the relationship between English as a Second Language (ESL) learners’ pronunciation ability and their speaking-proficiency ratings. At an intensive English program (IEP) in the United States, a speaking test was administered to 223 ESL students. Their speaking proficiency was rated using an oral proficiency assessment based on standardized guidelines. In addition, their pronunciation was rated in six categories (vowels, consonants, word stress, sentence stress, intonation, and rhythm) by 11 raters using a rubric specifically developed and validated for this study. Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (MFRM) was used to estimate the students’ pronunciation ability, which was then compared to their speaking ability. The study found that sentence stress, rhythm, and intonation accounted for 41% of the variance in the speaking-proficiency test scores with sentence stress being the most powerful factor.
Keywords: ESL, English pronunciation, speaking proficiency, assessment, pronunciation rubric, suprasegmentals, sentence stress
Published online: 31 May 2018
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
(2012) ACTFL proficiency guidelines 2012. Retrieved from http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/public/ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines2012_FINAL.pdf
British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. (n.d.)
IELTS speaking: Band descriptors (public version). Retrieved from https://www.ielts.org/~/media/pdfs/speaking-band-descriptors.ashx
Carey, M. D., Mannell, R. H., & Dunn, P. K.
Catford, J. C.
Dalton, P., & Hardcastle, W. J.
Educational Testing Service
(2006) Rubric for rubrics. Retrieved from https://www.mbaea.org/documents/filelibrary/pdf/csin/RubricforRubrics_77EAE6205D215.pdf
(2014) TOEFL iBT Test. Retrieved from https://www.ets.org/s/toefl/pdf/toefl_speaking_rubrics.pdf
Henrichsen, L. E., Green, B. A., Nishitani, A., & Bagley, C. L.
(1999) Pronunciation matters: Communicative, story-based activities for mastering the sounds of North American English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. (electronic version available at www.pronunciationmatters.com)
Higgs, T. V., & Clifford, R.
Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P.
Kang, O., Rubin, D., & Pickering, L.
(2010) Suprasegmental measures of accentedness and judgments of language learner proficiency in oral English. The Modern Language Journal, 94, 554–566. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40959579
Lee, Y. J.
Levis, J. M.
Lincare, J. M.
Munro, M. J., & Derwing, T. M.
Myford, C. M., & Wolfe, E. W.
Nicolosi, L., Harryman, E., & Keresheck, J.
n.d.). Make room for rubrics. Retrieved from http://emp.byui.edu/firestonel/bio405/readings/assessmemt/make%20room%20for%20rubrics.pdf
Cited by 2 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 11 january 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.