Năng lực tiếng Anh và kết quả học tập đại học: Vai trò của bài kiểm tra năng lực tiếng Anh trong việc dự đoán điểm trung bình học tập của sinh viên

Tóm t t: Nghiên cứu này điều tra về mối liên hệ giữa năng lực tiếng Anh và kết quả học tập của sinh viên các chuyên ngành Quản trị Kinh doanh, Quản trị Du lịch, Tài chính – Ngân hàng và Kế toán tại một trường đại học công lập. Tại đây tiếng Anh được sử dụng làm phương tiện giảng dạy và kiểm tra – đánh giá. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy năng lực tiếng Anh là một chỉ báo đáng tin cậy về khả năng thành công trong học tập của sinh viên ở các môn học và trình độ khác nhau, và trình độ tiếng Anh yếu, đặc biệt ở các kỹ năng Đọc hiểu và Nghe hiểu sẽ khiến kết quả học tập bị hạn chế. Dựa trên kết quả thu được, nghiên cứu đề xuất một số giải pháp nhằm cải tiến việc thiết kế và triển khai chương trình giảng dạy cũng như phương pháp kiểm tra – đánh giá để nâng cao trình độ tiếng Anh của sinh viên. Nghiên cứu cũng đề cập đến việc tìm hiểu những sự khác biệt giữa các cá nhân sinh viên có thể là chỉ báo về khả năng học tập của sinh viên như: tính cách, khả năng nhận thức hoặc định hướng học tập.

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Chin lc ngoi ng trong xu th hi nhp Tháng 11/2014 347 NĂNG LỰC TIẾNG ANH VÀ KẾT QUẢ HỌC TẬP ĐẠI HỌC: VAI TRÒ CỦA BÀI KIỂM TRA NĂNG LỰC TIẾNG ANH TRONG VIỆC DỰ ĐOÁN ĐIỂM TRUNG BÌNH HỌC TẬP CỦA SINH VIÊN Hoàng Gia Th, Nguyn Tin Dũng, Bùi Lê Minh* Trường Đại học Hà Nội *Tác giả liên hệ, email: thuhg@hanu.edu.vn Tóm t t: Nghiên cứu này điều tra về mối liên hệ giữa năng lực tiếng Anh và kết quả học tập của sinh viên các chuyên ngành Quản trị Kinh doanh, Quản trị Du lịch, Tài chính – Ngân hàng và Kế toán tại một trường đại học công lập. Tại đây tiếng Anh được sử dụng làm phương tiện giảng dạy và kiểm tra – đánh giá. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy năng lực tiếng Anh là một chỉ báo đáng tin cậy về khả năng thành công trong học tập của sinh viên ở các môn học và trình độ khác nhau, và trình độ tiếng Anh yếu, đặc biệt ở các kỹ năng Đọc hiểu và Nghe hiểu sẽ khiến kết quả học tập bị hạn chế. Dựa trên kết quả thu được, nghiên cứu đề xuất một số giải pháp nhằm cải tiến việc thiết kế và triển khai chương trình giảng dạy cũng như phương pháp kiểm tra – đánh giá để nâng cao trình độ tiếng Anh của sinh viên. Nghiên cứu cũng đề cập đến việc tìm hiểu những sự khác biệt giữa các cá nhân sinh viên có thể là chỉ báo về khả năng học tập của sinh viên như: tính cách, khả năng nhận thức hoặc định hướng học tập. Abstract: The current study investigated the relationship between the English language proficiency (ELP) and academic success of students majoring in business studies (i.e., Business Administration, Tourism Management, Finance and Banking, and Accounting) at a state university where English is the medium of instruction and assessment. The findings suggested that ELP is a strong indicator of students’ achievement across subject areas and course levels, and insufficient proficiency in English, particularly in reading and listening skills, would result in limited academic success. Based on the findings, a number of recommendations were put forward in an attempt to help improve the curriculum design and implementation as well as assessments for better English language proficiency. The study also suggested that it is important to look at other individual differences as potential predictors of learners’ effectiveness, namely personality, cognitive ability, or learning orientations. ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: THE ROLE OF INSTITUTIONAL-BASED ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TEST IN PREDICTING STUDENTS’ GRADE POINT AVERAGE Students whose first language is not English encounter grave challenges in their academic study when English is the language of instruction of the program. Various studies have linked students’ English language proficiency (ELP) with important academic [e.g., Grade Point Average (GPA), non-completion rate] and individual (e.g., sociocultural adjustment and well-beings) outcomes(Chen & Sun, 2006; Cho & Bridgeman, 2012; Cumming, 1994; Graham, 1987; Johnson, 1988; Johnson & Buck, 1995; Pantages & Creedon, 1978; Sarudin, 1994; Zhang & Goodson, 2011).Generally, the current body of research suggested that better ELP leads to better GPA, completion rates, and sociocultural adjustment. Review of the literature, however, suggests that most of the studies examining the relationship between ELP and academic success were conducted in English-speaking countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand with samples from non- speaking countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Ti u ban 2: Đào to chuyên ngành bng ngoi ng 348 Eastern Europe (e.g., Chen & Sun, 2006). This raises the question of whether such findings can be generalized to similar programs (i.e., programs where English is chosen as the language of instruction and assessment) delivered locally in non-English-speaking countries. The differences in the academic and social environment (e.g., instructors’ and peers’ level of English, learning facilities and support, and opportunities for language practices outside the classroom) may moderate the relationship between ELP and academic success reported in the literature. For that reason, the purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between ELP and students’ academic performance in a non-English- speaking country. More specifically, we studied the relationship between students’ ELP, measured by (a) their performance on an institutional-based ELP test and (b) students’ GPA of an intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) program, with their overall college GPA and GPAs of different course areas and levels. In addition, we also explored the relative importance of English language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) to students’ overall GPA. Finally, we looked at the relationship between students’ ELP and their GPAs across the course levels (i.e., 200-level, 300-level, and 400-level courses).The study is expected to contribute to the literature by extending the current research to programs in non- English-speaking countries where the academic and social settings are different from those in the English-speaking countries. In addition, by examining the two measures of ELP (i.e., IELTS score and GPA of an ESL program) and their relationship with students’ GPA, we further our understanding of the relative importance of standardized ELP tests versus ESL programs. Academic Programs Delivered in English in Non-English Speaking Countries The last decade witnesses an increase in the popularity of international programs in non- English-speaking countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the recent statistics published by the Vietnam International Education Department (VIED), there are currently412 international programs which are co- delivered locally by 78 Vietnam educational institutions and over 200 international universities in 30 countries and territories (VIED, 2014). These programs are usually designed by foreign universities and delivered partly or entirely by domestic partners in the host countries. Regardless of where these programs come from, English is usually chosen as the language of instruction and assessment. In addition, over the last few decades, local universities in these developing countries have started to offer their own academic programs in English in an attempt to internationalize their academic programs and to meet the increasing demand of the public for graduates who are both well-versed in English and professionally qualified in their respective fields. With the current trends of global cooperation in education, the increased mobility of the workforce, and the demand for tertiary education, it is expected that this kind of programs will continue to grow in the future. We chose to investigate the relationship between the ELP and students’ academic success in a non-English-speaking country for several reasons. First, internationalization is an important component of universities, especially in developed countries in the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Altbach & Knight (2007) suggested that internationalization of higher education have expanded dramatically in the last two decades in volume, scope, and complexity and predicted that it would continue to be a central force in higher education around the world. Because of this we expect to see an increase in international programs and other forms of training in developing countries around the world. Second, despite the popularity of the topic, we found only a few published studies investigating the relationship between the ELP and the academic performance in non-English speaking countries such as the Netherlands (e.g., Vinke & Jochems, 1993), Somalia (e.g., Addow, Abubakar, & Abukar, Chin lc ngoi ng trong xu th hi nhp Tháng 11/2014 349 2013), Nigeria (Aina, Ogundele, & Olanipekun, 2013; Kakeye, 2014), India (e.g., Kumar, 2014), Iran (e.g., Maleki & Zangani, 2007); and Tanzania (Komba, Kafanabo, Njabili, & Kira, 2012; Wilson & Komba, 2012). A better understanding of the relationship between the two variables is extremely important to improving the quality of the English training and subsequently the performance of students in these academic programs. English Language Proficiency and Academic Performance As indicated, the relationship between students’ ELP and their academic success has been attracting a great deal of research attention. In the past studies, ELP was usually measured by a standardized ELP test such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; e.g., Al- Musawi & Al-Ansari, 1999; Cho & Bridgeman, 2012; Van Nelson, Nelson, & Malone, 2004) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS; Feast, 2002; Read & Hayes, 2003, Woodrow, 2012). In some studies (e.g., Komba et al., 2012; Kong, Powers, Starr & Williams, 2012), however, the authors utilized institutional-based ELP tests. Students’ academic success was usually measured by students’ GPA at the end of the term or program, although other individual outcomes such as sociocultural adjustment (e.g., Andrade, 2006; Zhang & Goodson, 2011) and students’ perceived academic difficulty (e.g., Xu, 1991) were also used as the criteria in several studies. In general, the empirical evidence suggests a significant positive relationship between ELP and academic achievements (Fakeye, 2014). The results have been able to be replicated in various educational levels from elementary to tertiary education (e.g., Fakeye, 2014; Kong et al., 2013; Sawir, Marginson, Forbes-Mewett, Nyland, &Ramia, 2012; Vinke & Jochems, 1993), across subject areas (e.g., Aina, Ogundele, & Olanipekun, 2013; Salamonson, Everett, Koch, Andrew, &Davidson, 2007), and in various English- speaking countries (e.g., the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada). Recent research focus has switched to a new but related area of inquiry. Researchers have started to look at students’ ELP and how it influences students’ academic performance in non-English-speaking countries. Several differences in the academic and social environments between English-speaking and non- English-speaking countries qualify for the new research direction. First, a majority of the instructors in these types of programs are non- native English speakers themselves. Research suggested the limitations associated with the instructors’ ELP influence their students’ ability to understand the materials, which in turn exerts a negative impact on their academic performance. Second, the learning facilities and support (e.g., library, ESL training, and academic skills assistant program) are much limited in those developing countries where these programs take place. The shortage of these resources may adversely impact students’ learning and performance. Finally, students study in non-English-speaking countries miss valuable opportunities to strengthen their ELP by using their English outside the classroom. In the following section, we shall review several studies looking at the relationship between ELP and academic performance in non-English- speaking countries. Fakeye (2014) examined the influence of Nigerian secondary school students’ ELP and their overall academic performance and found that the ELP has a significant positive relationship with students’ academic achievements in Mathematics, Biology and English. In another study using a Nigerian sample at the college level, Aina et al. (2013) investigated the relationship between students’ ELP and their performance in science and technical courses. The results suggested that students with a better level of ELP were more likely to perform better than their counterparts. Several studies in Tanzania school system also found that the overall ELP or specific English language skill (i.e., writing) are positively related to students’ academic performance at the secondary (Wilson & Komba, 2012) and tertiary Ti u ban 2: Đào to chuyên ngành bng ngoi ng 350 level (Komba et al., 2012). Similar findings have been replicated across subject areas such as arts (Wilson & Komba, 2012), management (Kumar, 2014; Stephen, Welman, & Jordaan, 2004),and engineering (Vinke & Jochems, 1993) and the empirical evidence so far suggested that the ELP is crucial for students’ academic success. Notwithstanding, the investigation by Addow et al. (2013) pointed out that the proficiency in English would not ensure success in academic performance and that the relationship between English language proficiency and academic achievements of the subjects studied remained weak. The findings of this study are similar to those reported by Graham (1987), Hill, Storch, and Lynch (1999), or Wilson and Komba (2012) that the relationship between English language proficiency plays a role but not a major or dominant role in the students’ academic success in English. Hypotheses Based on the current empirical evidence on the relationship between ELP and academic performance, we proposed the following hypotheses for the current study. First of all, as reviewed, most of the studies to date suggest that students’ ELP plays a positive role in students’ academic success. We therefore concur with the empirical evidence and predict: H1a: The English language proficiency, measured by students’ overall GPA of their first- year ESL program, is positively related to the overall college GPA. H1b: The English language proficiency, measured by institutional-based ELP test, is positively related to the overall college GPA. In addition, because the format of the institutional-based ELP test used in this institution was similar to that of the IELTS, which mainly focuses on testing students’ linguistic knowledge rather that communicative competence and academic skills (Carroll, 1980), we predict that the institutional-based ELP test scores is not as effective as students’ overall GPA in their first- year ESL program in predicting students’ academic achievement (i.e., overall GPA). Therefore, we predict: H1c: Students’ overall GPA of their first- year ESL program is a better predictor of student overall GPA as compared to students’ performance on the ELP test. With regard to the English language skills, there have been a number of studies investigating the relationship between language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and academic performance. A review by Bharuthram (2012; p. 205) suggested that “reading is one of the most important tasks encountered by students”, especially students in tertiary education. Empirical studies (e.g., Bohlman & Pretorius, 2002) have found a significant relationship between students’ reading ability and their academic performance. Because the reading ability is central to the process of acquiring knowledge of students, we predict: H2: Among the four English language skills, reading is the strongest predictor of students’ overall GPA. Many studies investigating the relationship between ELP and academic achievement used students’ first year GPA as the criterion of academic success. Therefore, little is known about how well ELP predicts the students’ academic success in the subsequent years. In order to examine the importance ELP and academic success over the years during college, we examine the relationship between ELP and academic performance across course levels. Because, in general, the level of course difficulty increases as students advance to graduation, we predict: H3: The English language proficiency is more strongly positively related to students’ GPA in the higher course levels than those in the lower ones. Finally, we expect ELP, which illustrate students’ verbal competences, is less important for courses that require more quantitative competences such as Accounting or Finance and Banking. More specifically, we predict. Chin lc ngoi ng trong xu th hi nhp Tháng 11/2014 351 H4: The English language proficiency is more strongly positively related to students’ GPA in Foundation courses, Business Administration, and Tourism Management, as compared to those in Accounting and Finance and Banking. Method Participants Data providing information on the English proficiency and academic performance for the current study was obtained from the academic database of the students in the four undergraduate programs (i.e., Business Administration, Tourism Management, Finance and Banking, and Accounting) ata medium-sized public university in Hanoi. These students graduated from the university from 2012 to 2014. The reason for us to choose these particular programs was that, except for several compulsory general courses 1 , all of their courses are delivered in English. Therefore, it is very important for the students to have a good level of English proficiency in order to do well in these programs. There were 747 students in the final sample including 183 (24.5%) students from the Business Administration program, 99 (13.3%) students from the Tourism Management program, 286 (38.3%) students from the Finance and Banking program, and 179 (23.9%) students from the Accounting program. Of those, 364 (48.7%) students graduated in 2012, 227 (30.4%) students graduated in 2013, and 156 (20.9%) students graduated in 2014. The sample included 121 (16.2%) male and 626 (83.8%) female students. The mean age for the total sample was 22.29 years (SD = .69). Procedure 1 Vietnamese universities are required to offer selected compulsory courses in their academic programs as regulated by the framework established by the Ministry of Education and Training. More specifically, in these particular programs, students are required to take 5 courses in Vietnamese including General Philosophy, Political Economics, Scientific Socialism, History of Vietnam Communist Party, Ho Chi Minh’s Thoughts. Approval from the university management was obtained to secure the access to the academic database of the students in the four programs. Grade record and selected demographic information (i.e., major, gender, and age) of the students who graduated from the four programs in the last three years (2012-2014) was retrieved from the database by a university administrator who was not involved in the study to ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of the students whose grade records were used in the study. No personal information which can be used to identify the students was obtained. Measures Demographic Variables. Students’ major, age, gender were obtained from the students’ academic record. Research have shown that age and gender may influence academic performance (Abubakar & Oguguo, 2012). In addition, because the requirements2 for the students to be admitted to the university are different for different majors in different cohorts, we, therefore, wished to ensure the control of the majors and cohorts in the statistical analyses. English Proficiency. All the students in the programs were required to go through an intensive English training program in their freshman year. The training consists of 900 contact hours, organized into three 10 week quarters from September to June every year. We obtained students’ English grades for each quarter which includes the general average point (GPA) for En
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