Chinese Language Teaching Methodology and Technology

Author Name in Chinese

杜宇潇 张方正

Author Affiliation

Harvard University

Author Affiliation in Chinese


English Abstract

With technological advancement and the COVID pandemic, online speaking assessment is increasingly used in language teaching. Two modes are developed: online synchronous testing (direct human-to-human interview) and online asynchronous testing (semi-direct human-to-machine interview). Ample literature has explored how each of the two online modes differs from traditional face-to-face speaking assessments. However, few studies have investigated the differences between the two modes, especially in terms of examinees’ affective preferences. This study, therefore, compares the extent to which each mode is accepted and favored by test takers and explores why such an affective preference emerges. The participants are 46 college students enrolled in an Elementary Chinese course. They completed a survey that investigates their level of motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety in the two types of online speaking tests. An open-ended question item solicited further explanations from test-takers. Results showed a strong affective preference for synchronous assessment, as manifested by a higher level of motivation and self-confidence and a lower level of anxiety. Possible reasons are discussed based on students’ written responses. The study is theoretically significant as it identifies factors on student experience and performance in online speaking assessments. It also provides practical guidance for language teachers in optimizing online oral tests.

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