Measuring the Effects of a Semester Abroad on Students’ Oral Proficiency Gains: A Comparison of At Home and Study Abroad
Keywords:Spanish, Oral Proficiency interview by computer, Study abroad, at-home, Proficiency gains
This study investigates oral proficiency gains among study-abroad (SA) and at-home (AH) students over the course of one semester. Using the Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc), students (N=18) were assessed before and after studying Spanish either on-campus or abroad. Findings revealed that while both groups’ mean proficiency scores improved, the SA group showed significant pre-post improvement. The percentage of students who improved at least one proficiency level was 44% for the AH group and 89% among SA participants, whose minimum post-test level was Intermediate-Mid. Only two students (SA group), however, reached the Advanced-Low level. Results outline some of the implications and limitations associated with semester-long study abroad and increased oral proficiency and offer suggestions for future research.
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