The effect of the use of video texts on ESL listening test-taker performance

The effect of the use of video texts on ESL listening test-taker performance

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Elvis Wagner investigated the use of video texts in testing the listening of ESL students within the experiment exhibited in his article, “The effect of the use of video texts on ESL listening test-taker performance.” While the article itself was based heavily around the experiment conducted to test the effectiveness of video texts in testing listening, Wagner posed very interesting questions which he hoped his findings would portray. Wagner’s first question was the most interesting and asked,
“1. To what extent does the use of video texts on an ESL listening test affect test-taker performance on that test? Do those test-takers in the video condition score higher or lower than the test-takers in the audio-only condition?” (498);
this question addresses the usefulness of testing listening with video texts while comparing its effectiveness to the control of audio-only. Studying the effects of video texts in listening test taking situations could help English language learners to better comprehend their test and ultimately improve their English skills, depending on the final data analysis.
To better understand the constructs behind Wagner’s study, it becomes necessary to investigate the background in studies used to assess the use of video texts in listening testing. Wagner provides many conflicting studies and data in the background section to show that one way of presenting the testing has not been proven better over the other. By sharing that Kellerman’s (1992) observation that “The use of video texts allows listeners to view kinesic behavior of speakers” (494); Wagner not only provides one side of the listening in testing argument, but also aids his readers in establishing why his experiment was necessary. A view tha...


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...texts in testing listening for English language learners, but further study is required before test formats are changed. Wagner makes sure to include that there are different forms of listening that we are trying to teach English language learners and the ways we test them should branch from those goals. For example, if we are trying to teach students how to listen to a radio broadcast, providing a video to teach that skill would not be as beneficial as an audio-only test, the inverse is true for teaching face-to-face communication and listening. While Wagner’s study showed that “the use of video texts on a test of L2 listening ability led to increased group test performance” (509), this study only focused on group results instead of individual. There is so much more that can be done to investigate the use of video texts, Wagner is just scratching the surface.

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