First Advisor

Marjorie Terdal

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




Language and languages -- Study and teaching, English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iii, 158 p.)


Recent research has found that the use of good language learning strategies can affect students' chances of gaining proficiency in a second language. The purpose of this study was to see if there is a relationship between strategy use and language learning proficiency. It sought to answer these questions: (1) Does a successful learner use different strategies on specific tasks than does a less successful learner? and (2) Will the successful learner use more metacognitive and affective strategies while doing tasks than will a less successful learner? For the first part of the study, 17 students in an ESL program at an urban university in the northwest were selected. Using the results from a self-report survey, the Strategy Inventory for Language Leaming (SILL), and the students' scores from standardized examinations, these students were divided into two groups, a proficient group and a less proficient group. For the second part of the study, two subjects from the first part (one proficient and one less proficient) were selected to participate in a Think-Aloud protocol as they completed three tasks. The objective was to see if these two students used different strategies as they completed specific tasks and if the proficient learner used more metacognitive and affective strategies that the less proficient learner. Mean scores were computed for the subjects on the first part of the study. Two-tailed probability tests were computed to determine if differences existed between the proficient and less proficient group. A significant difference was found between the two groups strategies from the memory strategy group. Analysis of the second part of the study revealed that the successful student used more of the appropriate strategies on two out of three of the tasks than did the less proficient learner and only slightly less of the appropriate strategy on the other task. The successful learner employed more metacognitive strategies on two out of three of the tasks and she used more of these strategies overall. The successful learner also used more affective strategies on all tasks. The practical benefit of the study is that student awareness of good strategy use, tailored to specific tasks could lead to improved second language acquisition.


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