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Updated Survey Results and Reflections on an Action Research Project on Reading Comprehension Tests for ESL/EFL Students

 

 

Survey Statistics for Reading Comprehension Tests for ESL/EFL Students and Anxiety (June 14, 2004) (An MS Word document of the questions for easy printing)

 

 

Survey Results and Reflections on the Progress of my Reading Comprehension Tests Research

 

Scroll down for the results of the Zoomerang Survey (June 6 to June 13)

I am finding out that it isn't enough to set up a survey. It is also necessary to have a good knowledge of descriptive statistics to be able to understand and describe the results of a survey. I got very excited when I first launched my online survey. I thought my work was done. However, I soon learned that my work had just begun as I started receiving the results. This has been my first attempt at conducting surveys. I hope to learn from my experiences and improve.

I conducted three surveys: Two online and one off line surveys at two of my schools. I used two different softwares for my online work:  Zoomerang (http://www.zoomerang.com/) and Questionpro (http://www.questionpro.com/).  Since many of my ESL students needed my help in translating the questions. I got immediate feedback. They were very useful. Some of my questions were not appropriately worded and somewhat biased. I used many yes/no questions which were very inappropriate and limiting. I had "undecided" which caused frustrations. Some of my students wanted to add something in between but couldn't. It was hard for them to just mark "undecided" when the answer was not yes, or no but rather sometimes, often, not often etc. I should have had more variables. Answers arenít usually black or white. There are many shades of gray in between. That's why the Likert Scale type questions with a few variables are better.

I launched a reading comprehension survey on my website: http://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB2KQPBP7MD on June 7, 2004. I kept it on for a week. I sent the survey questions to each of my classmates at the UOP. Altogether I had a population of 11 (see Appendix - 1 for my result chart). I also had another survey up on my website: http://www.questionpro.com/akira/TakeSurvey?id=161974 since May 14, 2004. I have had 121 responses since then (June 14, 2004). See the following page for an overall survey statistics: http://www.questionpro.com/userimages/59351/392/index.html and http://www.questionpro.com/akira/ShowResults?id=161974

      I found Zoomerang very constrictive for several reasons. First, it didn't allow more than ten questions. It has a free 10 day limit for each survey. Ten days is not sufficient for a comprehensive survey.  "Survey results are maintained for a period of 10 days after launch. Longer storage is available with [the paid plan survey] or on a per survey basis" (Zoomerang, 2004). Thirdly, other options like cross tabulation, cross-referencing of two different questions, results by e-mail or results in spreadsheet format are not available with the 10 day free offer. On the other hand, Questionpro has a year of free pro utilities for academic purposes. If you add it to your web site you get an additional two months on the year. Its result analysis options include data analysis, view frequency analysis and real time charts by individual questions, reports with a view of an HTML summary reports and export of raw data in an excel spreadsheet and a view of individual responses to the surveys. It provides cross-tabulation, performs cross-tabs between multiple variables, and groups analysis (Questionpro, 2004). The results for each question are accompanied by all three charts: pie, bar and line graphs. This makes the viewing much easier.

          Online surveys by means of softwares are much easier to handle than off line classroom questionnaires that cannot be placed online.  I spent hours tallying and calculating the results of my students responses to the questions. Once I had the numbers I used MS Excel with the calculations. But most of the work was counting and writing out the answers on a tally page. What I would like to do as soon as a have the time is to cross reference my three stakeholders: parents, students and teachers. I only have about two or three parents so far. Each of them is also a teacher who wanted to help me out by adding views as a parent. I don't think they are considered very reliable sources.

          My plans are to carry out a survey before and after my ESL/EFL program on reading strategies, relaxation exercises and test taking preparations. Most of the work was done in our last course. I don't plan on using Zoomerang for my surveys. I intend to work with Questionpro. However, any software is better than doing the work manually offline. The disadvantage to online surveys is that there is less control as to the population. Anyone can go in as one of the stakeholders when in fact he or she is not. Questionpro has an option of adding a password so that only a selected population who has been given the password can take the survey. The disadvantage of that is that the population needs to have an access to a computer and an Internet connection. That's why I have chosen to combine online with off line surveys.

 

References

MarketTools. (2004). Zoomerang. Retrieved June 14, 2004, from http://www.zoomerang.com/

 

QuestionPro. (2003). QuestionPro.com survey software. Retrieved June 14, 2004, from

 

             http://www.questionpro.com

 

Zoomerang Results:  Survey taken for about a week (June 6 to 13)

Appendix -1: Reading Comprehension Tests

 

Question

Number of Responses

Response Ratio %

 1

Who are you?

 

parent

2

18%

student

0

  0%

teacher

6

55%

Other

3

27%

 

Academic who supervises overseas PhD candidates

US Soldier

webmaster

 2

Have you ever taken a reading comprehension test in your first language?

Yes

9

82%

No

2

18%

 3

If you didn't take such a test, how would you feel if you had taken one?

Great

Not so great

A bit anxious

Anxious

Very anxious

71%

14%

14%

0%

0%

5

1

1

0

0

Don't know. Depends on a lot of things

Not an issue one way or the other

 4

If you took such a test, how did you feel about taking a reading comprehension test in your first language?

Great

Not so great

A bit anxious

Anxious

Very anxious

83%

0%

17%

0%

0%

5

0

1

0

0

 5

Have you ever taken a reading comprehension test in a foreign or second language?

Yes

8

73%

No

3

27%

Unless you count exams in French as part of a university degree

 6

If no, how do you think you would fee if you took one?

Utterly incompetent

Not so Good

Well, if I fluently spoke another language it probably wouldn't matter. The only language that should be tested in the United States is English since that is the language in this country.

not so great because I am not fluent in that language

 7

If yes, how did you feel while taking the test?

I don't remember any problems.

Calm

Nervous...my grade depended on it!

Anxious, yet confident

Apprehensive

Uneasy

I would feel fine but would like to know what the results were going to be used for.

 8

How would you feel if you were given a reading passage to read and answer questions on it?

Great

Not so great

A bit anxious

Anxious

Very anxious

50%

10%

30%1%

10%

0%

5

1

3

1

0

Like a schoolgirl!

I wouldn't expect to do well. It wouldn't bother me greatly as I don't have anything depending on such a test

 9

Do you think a course in reading strategies would help students answer questions on a reading comprehension test?

Yes

10

91%

No

1

  9%

I'm not sure really.

I'm not really sure and I don't like yes/no questions. On balance, probably yes ...

10

Please explain your choice

 

... because at the very least it would be likely to increase their confidence

Strategies, I think always help.

Reading involves an active process but when students read in a second language they seem not to be able to transfer strategies they use in their mother language to the second language. It seems there's a different way to read in the second language.

Any additional assistance is a good idea

Practice makes perfect. Reading strategies are essential for success in ANY class.

Anytime you teach strategies to improve a skill it assist the individuals acquisition of that skill

It would provide security in the form of familiarity.

Reading strategies are the skills by which struggling readers or good readers learn to comprehend what they are reading.

Everyone can benefit from reading strategies.

 

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