June 2008
Volume 12, Number 1

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Reducing Listening Test Anxiety Through Various Forms of Listening Support

Anna Ching-Shyang Chang
Hsing-Wu College, Taipei, Taiwan

John Read
University of Auckland, New Zealand


Foreign language learners typically experience considerable anxiety about taking listening tests. This study investigated how four forms of listening support (pre-teaching of content and vocabulary, question preview, and repeated input) affect the anxiety levels of college students in Taiwan taking a multiple-choice achievement test, which counts for their final grade in a required listening course. Participants included 160 students in four intact classes matched in listening ability. The instruments were a general listening anxiety questionnaire, short measures of task anxiety given just before and after the test, and post-test interviews. Prior the test, the test-takers were uniformly anxious but afterwards, there were significant differences in anxiety according to type of support and level of proficiency. A three-way interaction effect indicated that no single factor accounted for the changes in the learners' listening anxiety. It is concluded that strategy instruction may enhance the effectiveness of support in listening tests.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, listening, strategies, testing, anxiety, confidence

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