Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

2691

Date

2016

Date of Award

5-24-2016

Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Concentration

Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Angela Thevenot

Committee Member

Joseph Jones

Abstract

Interest in Arabic language has rapidly increased over the last few decades because of economic and political factors, which has led to the establishment of many Arabic language programs worldwide. However, the curricula of those programs are not sufficiently rigorous to satisfy such a strong demand. When it comes to learning to read in Arabic, the ability to read aloud is still the main skill that is emphasized in the Arab world, which is an outdated view of reading because emphasis of reading instruction has moved toward the use of higher-level thinking skills rather than only focusing on correct pronunciation. Such a perspective has resulted in the need for using alternative methods of assessment and to have students involved more in the assessment process. This approach—alternative assessment—is in line with constructivism, which encourages students to actively participate in various language tasks, take more responsibility for their own learning, focus on big ideas and concepts instead of emphasizing smaller issues such as pronunciation or typing errors, and enhances their perceptions and opinions.This study, therefore, explores Arabic as a second language (ASL) reading teachers’ knowledge, skills, practices, and attitudes toward alternative assessment as well as any relationships between these variables, and their teaching experience or amount of in-service training. Also, it explores any barriers preventing wider use of this type of assessment in the Saudi context. Data collection includes a survey and semistructured interviews with a total of 25 participants. Findings reveal that alternative assessment is not frequently implemented even though teachers agree on having knowledge of and skills in alternative assessment, and express their positive attitudes and a preference for this type of assessment over traditional assessment. Moreover, the majority of them do not agree that the barriers given in the survey are the factors holding them back from using this type of assessment. In the interviews, however, they attribute their low use of alternative activities to the lack of technology, lack of appropriate materials, and other factors. The study concludes with implications for ASL policy makers, instructors, and curriculum designers, and provides directions for future studies.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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