Construction of a Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) anxiety scale : towards a theoretical model of foreign language anxiety

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2011-05

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Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) Anxiety Scale based on a sound theoretical model of CFL Anxiety. Furthermore, the study attempted to discuss the influence of background variables on CFL Anxiety and the relationships between CFL Anxiety and other learning variables such as motivation, self-perceived language achievement, etc.. A total of 428 students studying Chinese in two U.S. universities participated in the study.

  Based on the results of item analysis, the researcher retained 16 items in the final CFL Anxiety Scale. EFA performed on responses to the 16 items from the 245 participants at the southwestern university yielded three factors: CFL Speaking Anxiety, Listening Anxiety, and Reading & Writing Anxiety. These results provided evidence for the construct validity of the CFL Anxiety Scale. Correlation analyses between the 16- item CFL Anxiety Scale and other related measures showed that the CFL Anxiety Scale had high convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity.

  The internal consistency reliabilities of the final 16-item CFL Anxiety Scale and its three subscales (i.e., Speaking, Listening, and Reading & Writing Anxiety scales) performed on responses from the 428  participants yielded Cronbach’s   Alphas of .898, .837, .802, .and 875.

  ANOVA and MAVOVA analyses revealed that heritage-learning status and proficiency level had significant effects on CFL Anxiety, CFL Speaking Anxiety, Listening Anxiety, and Reading & Writing Anxiety. Heritage learners with Chinese language background were significantly less anxious than heritage learners without Chinese language background and non-heritage learners. Advanced learners experienced significantly lower levels of CFL Anxiety than elementary and intermediate learners.

  In addition, seven variables: age, perception of difficulty of Chinese, motivation in learning Chinese, self-perceived language learning abilities, self-perceived achievement in the Chinese class, self-expectations in the Chinese class, and perception of importance of Chinese were found to be significantly correlated with CFL Anxiety, and altogether explained 33.2%, 20.5%, 14.8%, and 33.1% of variances in CFL Anxiety, Speaking Anxiety, Listening Anxiety, and Reading & Writing Anxiety respectively.

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