Taalbeleid en meertaligheid
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This semi-longitudinal/cross-sectional study explores the role of two possible variables in the L2 development of Dutch high school students: scholastic aptitude (operationalized as CITO score) and the amount of input, both in school (two hours a week versus 15 hours a week) and out of school. First grade participants were followed for two years and third grade students for one year. At the beginning of the study, all students filled in an extensive questionnaire on motivation, attitude, and out-of-school contact and took a proficiency tests consisting of a receptive vocabulary and a productive writing task. At each subsequent measure point, the language proficiency test was repeated. The results show that out-of-school contact with English made a significant contribution to their English proficiency, even with the presence of predictors of CITO score, grade (1 or 3) , instructional group (2 versus 15 hours) and interaction between grade and group. The analysis also revealed a significant effect of aptitude (operationalized as CITO score) on the learners' general English proficiency, revealing that students in both conditions with a higher CITO score have a higher English proficiency level as well. We conclude that in-school input helps: the learners who receive 15 hours a week of English input score significantly higher on the writing scores than the two other groups during and at the end of the third year, even when we take other factors such as initial proficiency level, scholastic aptitude and out-of-school contact into consideration. The data also shows that the CITO score is a strong predictor of language development, even within the narrow bandwidth of about 540-550. However, we need to be careful in interpreting what this means. Perhaps general aptitude only affects the rate of acquisition rather than the ability to become very proficient.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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