Iranian Candidates’ Attitudes towards IELTS

| September 25, 2009
Title
Iranian Candidates’ Attitudes towards IELTS

Keywords: IELTS, Iranian candidates, Attitude, Test Method Facets

Authors
Iman Rasti
Liverpool University

Bio Data
Iman Rasti is currently a PhD candidate in applied linguistics at Liverpool University. He teaches English and academic writing to speakers of other languages at Liverpool. His main research interests include discourse analysis, metadiscourse, and language assessment. He has co-authored a book on how to teach IELTS preparation programs.

Abstract
IELTS, International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who intend to study, work, or live where English is used as the language of communication. Highly significant growth in candidature particularly in South Asia and the Middle East clearly illustrates how globally IELTS is recognized currently. Statistics demonstrate that Iran was among the top 25 locations in which candidates took IELTS in 2003 (IELTS Annual Review, 2003). This study aimed at investigating the attitudes of Iranian candidates towards the IELTS test. Using test method facets (Bachman 1990, p. 119) as the theoretical framework, the relationship between examinees’ characteristics and their attitudes were studied. This study used casual comparative (ex post facto) as its research method given the fact that there would be no manipulation of the variables involved. Accordingly, an attitude questionnaire was developed based on the theoretical framework of the study and then administered to 60 Iranian IELTS candidates who had taken the actual test in Iran.

The questionnaire was validated to ensure its reliability and validity. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 12 candidates. In addition, narrative vignettes including candidates’ written self-reports were produced by 20 candidates. Data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The collected data were analyzed through t-tests and other statistical programs to see if there were any meaningful relationships between candidates age, sex, educational background, and test scores and their attitudes towards the IELTS test. Written protocols including transcribed interviews and candidates’ written self- reports were codified for key concepts. The contribution of different test method facets (factors) on IELTS examinees performance was also identified. The finding indicated that almost 80% of the participants in this study had a positive attitude towards IELTS.

No meaningful relationship was found between Iranian candidates sex, age, educational background, and IELTS scores with their attitudes towards IELTS. Implications can be drawn for all the stakeholders including candidates intending to sit the test, institutes running IELTS preparation programs, teachers wishing to teach such programs and IELTS test administrators.

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See pages 110-155

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 11 Issue 3