Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number2.  June 2022                                                       Pp.3-16

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Checking the Reliability of English as a Second Language Learners’ Aptitude: The Use of
Achievement Tests as Predictors

  Sahal R. Alshammari
  Languages and Translation Department
Faculty of Art and Science, Rafha Campus
Northern Border University, Saudi Arabia


Received: 1/28/2022            Accepted:3/17/2022                           Published: 6/24/2022


In Saudi Arabia, high school education has always been blamed for students’ weaknesses in the English language. Teachers have been accused of overestimating students’ scores in English language courses, resulting in evaluations that do not reflect the students’ real levels. Consequently, students believe that they are good enough at English and can survive in an English program at the college level when they are not. The paper is an attempt to bridge the gap between learning English in public schools and at college level.  It will try to answer a significant question about whether students’ scores in high school and preparatory years are able to predict their performances at the college level — particularly students majoring in English language. It also explores the factors that affect university students’ GPAs who are majoring English. A total of 107 students participated in the study by providing their grades in the three levels and responding to a survey to explore their attitudes toward activities that encourage them to learn English in the Saudi Arabian education system. The results showed that high school and preparatory year grades aligned with only a small number of the participants’ college grades. This indicates that earlier grades cannot predict students’ performances at the university level. Moreover, the results confirm the dominance of the grammar-translation method in teaching English at all three levels. Finally, the results confirm a strong correlation between practicing more activities and improving second language learning.  More research is required to explore the factors that influence students’ English learning.
Keywords: achievement test, English as a second language, high school, preparatory year, Saudi second language learners.

Cite as:   Alshammari, S. R. (2022). Checking the Reliability of English as a Second Language Learners’ Aptitude: The Use of Achievement Tests as Predictors. Arab World English Journal, 13 (2) 3-16.


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Received: 1/28/2022  
Accepted: 3/17/2022  
Published: 6/24/2022 

Dr. Sahal Al Shammari is an associate professor at Northern Border University. He holds a Ph.D. in TESOL from University of Kansas, USA. Besides research papers to his credit, he has also authored a couple of fictions in Arabic language, of which Yasir has been declared best-seller with more than 40,000 copies sold so far. Being an ELT expert, his areas of research interests include but not limited to second language acquisition, teaching methods, and writing skills of the Arab EFL learners.