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Title: The Effects of Time Constraint on Reading Proficiency Test Scores of Tertiary Level Learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Contributor(s): Hicks, Tricia Joy (author); Chan, Eveline  (supervisor)orcid ; Kigotho, Mutuota  (supervisor)orcid ; Matthews, Joshua Aron  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2022-08-02
Copyright Date: 2022
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This study aimed to explore if time allocation for English language reading proficiency tests affects the resultant reading proficiency scores of international students desiring Australian higher education entry. Essentially, the research investigated whether some students are disadvantaged due to time constraints imposed on standardised reading tests.

Fifty-eight English as an Additional Language (EAL) students studying in a final 10 week Bridging English pathway program at a major university participated in this study. All entered the program with an overall IELTS level 5.5 or higher. Most verified having a 5.5 or higher in Reading (excluding two students who noted 5), according to current IELTS results. The mixed methods study collected data through three core procedures. Quantitative data comprised test scores from five different standardised IELTS practice tests under three different time conditions: 1) standard time (60 minutes), 2) 1st time extension (75 minutes), and 3) 2nd time extension (90 minutes). This enabled a comparison of the mean scores achieved under the different test conditions. In addition, questionnaires were administered immediately after each test to gauge test performance and attitude toward test time allowance. Qualitative data was collected via semi-structured-interviews with 23 of the test-takers upon completion of all reading tests. Thematic analysis identified salient themes evident within the interviews regarding the impact of time constraint on reading performance and test-taker attitude and behaviour. The study therefore aimed to measure, through offering a set-time extension, whether reading proficiency results improved.

A key finding from the study suggested that time constraint appears to have a significant effect on reading performance. Results from the quantitative investigationsrevealed that standard time (60 minutes) resulted in a mean average failure (<23/40) compared to the 1st time extension, which showed a significant rise in mean scores resulting in a mean average success rate (≥23/40). However, the analyses also clarified that too much time can negatively affect performance. Results from the qualitative investigation supported the test results, demonstrating that candidates believed the standard time was not sufficient to complete the test effectively and increased time resulted in reduced anxiety and more satisfied test-takers.

Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390108 LOTE, ESL and TESOL curriculum and pedagogy
390402 Education assessment and evaluation
470306 English as a second language
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930201 Pedagogy
930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
Description: Please contact if you require access to this thesis for the purpose of research or study.
Appears in Collections:School of Education
Thesis Masters Research

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