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Early versus late start in an EFL program : factors that contribute to performance outcomes

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Early versus late start in an EFL program : factors that contribute to performance outcomes

Frediani, Veronica (2008) Early versus late start in an EFL program : factors that contribute to performance outcomes. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This cross-sectional study investigated the effects of the starting age of instruction (age of onset) and amount of instruction on the proficiency of young learners of English as a foreign language. Data were collected in Argentina in two intensive after-school language programs. Early starters (ES) began learning English at age 7-8, and late starters (LS) at age 12-13. The proficiency measures were two practice Cambridge ESOL exams: the Preliminary English Test (Level 1), and the First Certificate in English (Level 2). Comparisons were made taking into account the overall scores of both groups of participants, as well as the scores obtained on four tasks from each exam. At the time of the Level 1 exam, ES had accumulated 1680-1960 hour of instruction, versus 840 hours for LS. Comparison of the overall scores showed an advantage for ES. The same pattern was observed with three of the four selected tasks. On the Level 2 exam, after an additional 420 hours of instruction, ES and LS participants performed similarly on the exams overall and on the selected tasks. The findings are discussed in terms of the amount of instructional time each group had accumulated and the participants' cognitive development. It would appear that late starters' cognitive maturity enabled them to benefit from instruction that matched their abilities, thereby overcoming the disadvantage of fewer hours of instruction. Issues related to the classification of tasks are also considered. The study has implications for second language program planners in foreign language contexts

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Frediani, Veronica
Pagination:x, 125 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Applied Linguistics
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):White, Joanna
ID Code:975768
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:14
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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