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Looking at Read Out Loud Rate as an Indicator of English Speaking Proficiency for EFL Students

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2011, 12(4), pp.149-170
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching

Song Youngsoo 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

It is important for instructors and raters to maintain objectivity and accuracy when assigning scores for EFL students. With this in mind, this study aims to determine if read out loud rates in words per minute, or WPM, spontaneous speech rates and degrees of chunking are significant indicators of speaking proficiency. Participants were Korean EFL undergraduate students who were instructed to read out loud three passages with the addition of a one-minute spontaneous speech. Intentional grammatical errors were inserted into one of the read out loud texts to discourage chunking. The spontaneous speeches were rated by three native English speakers. Quantitative analysis was performed by using CohMetrix, WordSmith, correlation, and regression to examine the relationship between participants’ speaking proficiency scores, speech rates, and the employment of chunking. The results revealed that there was a significantly positive correlation between WPM value of spontaneous speech and spontaneous speech scores. Further analysis revealed that Adjusted R Square was .17with a beta value of .41 when the WPM of spontaneous speech was regressed on the ratings of spontaneous speech. The study’s implication is that raters and instructors should take the WPM of spontaneous speech into consideration before assigning a grade.

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