Personal investment theory and Japanese university students' achievement on the Test of English as a Foreign Language

Year: 2005

Author: Da Silva, Dexter, McInerney, Dennis

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Researchers and theorists in the area of Second Language Acquisition (e.g., Ellis, 1994; Gass & Selinker, 1994; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; Spolsky, 1989) consider there to be a wide variety of factors that contribute to language proficiency and achievement. These include motivation, language aptitude, the learning environment, learning styles and strategies, age, and personality factors. This paper focuses on motivational and sense-of-self characteristics, and their contribution to achievement on an academic English test. Data were collected from 500 female, Japanese, first-year university students using the Inventory of University Motivation, based on Maehr's multiple goal model of Personal Investment (Maehr, 1984; Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Results from multiple regression analyses showed that half of the components of the scales were effective in predicting academic English proficiency as measured by Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Three scales, Sense of competence at English, Competition in English, and Social Concern in English, had the highest predictive utility.