Affective Filter and Use of Peer Assessment Technology in Foreign Language Acquisition (Sarah Jacoba, Lakehead University, Canada)
Sarah Jacoba, Lakehead University, Canada
Title: Affective Filter and Use of Peer Assessment Technology in Foreign Language Acquisition
Keywords: FSL; acquisition; technology; assessment; anxiety
My proposed project focuses on the impact of peer-evaluation technology on test results within a Franco-Ontarian context. In the Winter semester (2020), my colleagues and I will observe first-, second-, and third-year French students as they use the “Peer Scholar” online grading tool prior to summative assessment.
“Peer Scholar” is an online peer-assessment technology designed by Dr. Steve Joordens (Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Scarborough). Student assessment involves three phases: Create, Assess, and Reflect. In the first phase, students compose and upload their assignment; in the second phase, they provide feedback on anonymized peer assignments following criteria from an uploaded rubric; and in the final phase, students answer questions about their experience as an evaluator. The first phase of Dr. Joordens’ research demonstrated that providing peer feedback—as opposed to simply receiving it—increases students’ critical-thinking skills.
Indeed, in our own preliminary study of a first-year, intermediate-level, French language class, students reportedly found both their peers’ comments (ex: “Les commentaires de mes collègues pourrait m’aider à éviter de faire les même fautes sûr l’examen”) and the evaluation process itself useful (ex: “quand j’ai écouté les monologues des autres étudiants, j’ai eu la chance d’améliorer ma grammaire”).
In our upcoming study, our hypothesis is that use of this software in the formative phase of learning will lower students’ affective filter (i.e. anxiety felt when producing speech in the target language) during the summative (testing) phase. Since, according to Krashen’s Affective Filter Hypothesis, a heightened affective filter is thought to interfere with successful language production, the anticipated results of our study are observable improved student performance during oral production examinations. Questions asked during the final “Reflection” phase will specifically target students’ stress and anxiety levels.