Towards a quick-and-dirty measure of comfort in using the English language as an index of second and foreign langauge ability

Yick Pang Anthony LEE

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Empirical Research Background: Krashen (1982) holds that affective factors are important for success in acquiring a foreign/second language. This paper attempts to operationalize the affective factors using comfort levels of English language learners. A Rasch calibrated scale properly designed targeting comfort levels in using the English language to exemplify a straightforward and efficient way to tap the affective factors in language acquisition. Empirical Research Aims: The study aims to establish a measure of comfort in using English as an index of the affective filter in learning English. The hypothesis is that levels of comfort in using the English do indicate level of ability in English. Empirical Research Sample: The sample consists of 15000 plus individuals from 7 regions in the Asia region: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The sample was randomly selected by commercial internet sampling firms in the regions. Empirical Research Method: A questionnaire targeting 3 areas of English language use was designed. The areas are contact with native speakers of English, using English media and reading English publications. 9 items were developed with categories of each item containing descriptions of different levels of comfort in using the English language. The questionnaire was administered via the internet in the 7 regions. Empirical Research RASCH: The returns were calibrated using the Rasch model. The locations of the item categories provide the basis for profiling three of comfort. Empirical Research Results: The levels of comfort in using the English are found to be significantly correlated with self-assessed English language ability included in the questionnaire. Empirical Research Conclusions: Calibration of item categories, if meaningfully described, can provide more detailed information on a survey instrument than the common used Lickert type scale with levels articulated in relative terms of more or less in some fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


English language
empirical research
empirical method
language acquisition
research results
research method
Hong Kong


Lee, A. Y. P. (2009, July). Towards a quick-and-dirty measure of comfort in using the English language as an index of second and foreign langauge ability. Paper presented at the Pacific Rim Objective Measurement Symposium 2009 (PROMS 2009) Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.