Luận văn NGHIÊN cứu về VIỆC sử DỤNG các THỦ PHÁP TRONG làm bài đọc TOEIC đối với SINH VIÊN TRƯỜNG đại học HÀNG hải VIỆT NAM

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This research has, in many senses, been accomplished with the help and encouragement of many people. Therefore, I would like to express my deepest and humblest gratitude also warmest appreciation to the following people.First and foremost, I would like to send my deepest gratitude to my ever supportive supervisor, Ms. Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Quỳnh, Ph.D. for her valuable guidance, constructive advice, and unconditional support during the time I tried to complete this thesis.I would also express my huge thanks to all of my lecturers at Faculty of PostGraduate Studies, University of Languages and International Studies as their invaluable lectures and guidance laid the foundation for the fulfillment of this thesis.I would also like to show my gratefulness to my colleagues who spent a great deal of time discussing some of the issues related to my research, offering their insights and perspectives as well as my students at Vietnam Maritime University in data collection process using survey questionnaire and semistructured interview. Last but definitely not least, I would like to dedicate this thesis to my family for their unconditional support and words of encouragement. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research has, in many senses, been accomplished with the help and encouragement of many people. Therefore, I would like to express my deepest and humblest gratitude also warmest appreciation to the following people. First and foremost, I would like to send my deepest gratitude to my ever supportive supervisor, Ms. Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Quỳnh, Ph.D. for her valuable guidance, constructive advice, and unconditional support during the time I tried to complete this thesis. I would also express my huge thanks to all of my lecturers at Faculty of Post- Graduate Studies, University of Languages and International Studies as their invaluable lectures and guidance laid the foundation for the fulfillment of this thesis. I would also like to show my gratefulness to my colleagues who spent a great deal of time discussing some of the issues related to my research, offering their insights and perspectives as well as my students at Vietnam Maritime University in data collection process using survey questionnaire and semi-structured interview. Last but definitely not least, I would like to dedicate this thesis to my family for their unconditional support and words of encouragement. i ABSTRACT This study was conducted at Vietnam Maritime University with a view to exploring test-taking strategies relative to learners’ performance in TOEIC Reading Comprehension as well as identifying differences in reading strategies among high proficiency and low proficiency students at Vietnam Maritime University. The subjects involved in the study are over 100 students of Vietnam Maritime University (VMU) chosen randomly from 4 TOEIC classes. Two classes are at Elementary Level (TOEIC Level 1), the other classes are at Intermediate Level (TOEIC Level 2). The data was collected from survey questionnaires, interviews and administration of two TOEIC tests for students. The results indicated that students at VMU put more emphasis on using reading strategies when they attended the TOEIC course. In addition, this study also revealed some differences in reading strategy use among students of different proficiency levels. However, when looking at the data, the researcher found some shared strategies between the two groups. From the findings, the study suggested several pedagogical implications for teachers, students and test-designers at VMU, acknowledged limitations of the study and offered suggestions for further research. ii ABBREVIATIONS CFL Center of Foreign Languages IELTS International English Language Testing System TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language TOEIC Test of English for International Communication VMU Vietnam Maritime University LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Figure1: A Heuristic for Thinking about Reading Comprehension 8 Figure 2: Priority in Reading Passages 21 Figure 3: Reasons for Reading Single Passages First 22 Figure 4: Reading Approach 24 Figure 5: Comparison about the Priority of Reading Passage 27 Figure 6: Reasons for Reading Single Passages First 28 Figure 7: A Comparison about Reading Approach 29 Table 1: Types of Topic Texts often exploited 23 Table 2: Strategies to Deal with Reading Text 25 Table 3: Reading strategies in taking TOEIC Reading Comprehension 26 Table 4: Types of Topic Texts often exploited by Low Proficiency and High Proficiency Students 29 Table 5: Comparison about reading strategies 30 TABLE OF CONTENTS Declaration i Acknowledgements ii Abstract iii iii Lists of figures and tables iv Table of contents v PART I: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale for the study 1 2. Research aims and research question 2 3. Scope of the study 2 4. Significance of the study 2 5. Method of the study 3 6. Organization of the study 3 PART II: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1. Reading 5 1.1.1. Definition of reading 5 1.1.2. Purposes of reading 6 1.1.3. Reading process 6 1.2. Reading comprehension 7 1.3. Reading TOEIC Test 8 1.3.1. Test 8 1.3.2. TOEIC Test 9 1.4. TOEIC reading comprehension strategies 10 1.5. Study of cognitive process 13 1.6. Summary 15 CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY 2.1. Settings 16 2.2. Participants 16 2.3. Research method 17 2.3.1. Data collection instruments 17 2.3.2. Data collection procedures 18 2.3.3. Data analysis 19 iv CHAPTER 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 3.1. Research question 1 21 3.1.1. Types of Reading Passages and Topic texts often exploited 21 3.1.2. Reading Approach 24 3.1.3. Strategies to Deal with Reading Text 25 3.1.4. Reading strategies in taking TOEIC reading comprehension 26 3.2. Research question 2 27 3.2.1. A comparison about the Priority of Reading Passage 27 3.2.2. Types of Topic Texts often exploited by Low Proficiency and High Proficiency Students 28 3.2.3. A comparison about Reading Approach 29 3.2.4. A Comparison about reading strategies 30 PART III: CONCLUSION 1. Summaries of the major findings 31 2. Pedagogical Implications 32 3. Limitations 34 4. Recommendations for further study 34 REFERENCES 36 APPENDIX 1 I APPENDIX 2 VII APPENDIX 3 VIII APPENDIX 4 XVI APPENDIX 5 XVII v PART I: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale for the study In the age of economic growth and global integration, English obviously plays a very important role. However, the criteria for evaluating one’s English competence are more and more difficult. In today’s context, the A, B, C certificates used for people wishing to find a job are out-of- date, and the so-called IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC have been the best choices. TOEIC, together with other requirements for job seekers, is preferred by most companies in order to assess their employees’ qualifications. Therefore, a lot of people are trying hard to achieve the success in a TOEIC Test. In addition, being a lecturer of English at VMU, through my teaching experience, I have found out that my students are always afraid of reading as compared to other skills. Students find reading difficult and stressful, and unfortunately, they have to sit for a TOEIC- based test which includes Reading and Listening comprehension for the final examination. Therefore, many of the students get an awful results because of low scores in English subject in which reading is always a target of blaming. Previously, although much literature has been devoted to TOEIC related topics; little was revealed about the cognitive processes underlying the performance of Vietnamese candidates in the TOEIC Reading Test, except for the exploratory study by Phạm Đức Long (2013) on “teaching and learning of TOEIC reading comprehension skill”. For all of the reasons stated, this paper is among the first attempts putting the emphasis onto “test-taking techniques for TOEIC Reading Comprehension to students at Vietnam Maritime University” so as being help to solve out their problems. 1 2. Research aims and research questions The original aim of this study is to gain an insight into how test-takers employ different reading strategies in TOEIC Reading comprehension. As the first attempt to explore the ongoing thinking processes during performing reading tasks, once finished the paper could serve as a useful source for TOEIC candidates who are planning to sit for the test as well as TOEIC trainers who want to have a closer look at how their trainees would actually perform in the real test for better TOEIC preparation instruction. To achieve this aim, the following research questions will be addressed: 1) Which test-taking techniques became more effective for TOEIC Reading Comprehension test to the students at Vietnam Maritime University? 2) What are differences in reading strategies among high proficiency and low proficiency students at Vietnam Maritime University? 3. Scope of study This study aimed to document the test-taking techniques of 100 students who are taking TOEIC preparation course at Vietnam Maritime University in Haiphong. 50 students are at Elementary level, 50 students are at Intermediate level. Investigating the “test-taking techniques for TOEIC Reading Comprehension test to students at Vietnam Maritime University”, this study is expected to make certain contributions to the related populations including students taking TOEIC test, teachers teaching TOEIC, and researchers of the same subjects. 4. Significance of study First of all, through the problems pointed out and the suggestions made, the students may improve their performance in reading TOEIC test. Similar to the students, the study would help TOEIC teachers to realize their problems in guiding their students in sitting for a test in order to achieve the best 2 results. Moreover, by noticing the students’ difficulties in reading, teachers can have their in-time consideration and correction in teaching reading effectively. In addition to the benefits given to the two above subjects, the study may serve as the foundation based on which further related research would be carried out. Particularly, future research could be made better after the limitations of the study are considered. 5. Method of the study In the current study, the researcher decided to employ immediate retrospective verbal report approach to explore the test-taking strategies of 100 students as well as the cognitive processes underlying their performance in reading TOEIC comprehension. Retrospection is a data-collecting method in which participants are asked to report their mental processes after solving a matter. Firstly, apart from the surveyed 100 students, 15 students were chosen to participate in the semi-interviews as soon as they finished taking TOEIC Test. With the aim of making the responses more confident in the interview, all the questions are simple and understandable for students to answer. Secondly, questionnaires are delivered to the students after they take the TOEIC test. They were offered to tick or circle the answer that best reflects their viewpoints. 6. Organization of the study The rest of the study includes two parts as follow: Part 2 consists of: Chapter 1, Literature Review, presents related theoretical background of the study in which concepts of reading and test-taking strategies for TOEIC Reading Comprehension test would be discussed. Chapter 2, Methodology, covers four major parts, namely, participants, instruments, data collection, data collection procedures, and data analysis. 3 Chapter 3, Results and Discussions, presents, analyzes and discusses the findings in order to answer the research questions of the study. Part 3, Conclusion, provides summaries of the main findings, suggestions for better results, limitations of the study, and lastly, recommendations for further related researches. PART II: DEVELOPMENT Chapter 1: Literature Review In this chapter, relevant knowledge collected from various sources will be presented so that it can suitably serve as a foundation for the research. The paper is divided into two parts including theories on reading difficulties and TOEIC reading. 1.1. Reading 1.1.1. Definitions of reading 4 According to Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics, reading can be defined as the process of perceiving a written text in order to understand its contents which can be done silently, and the understanding that result is called reading comprehension. However, the term reading can also be understood as saying a written text aloud which can be done with or without understanding the text. Another definition of reading which can be found in Collins English Learners’ Dictionary is an act of looking at and understanding point. This definition puts the emphasis on the involvement of the act of the eye during the process of reading and was supported by Harmer (1989) as eyes receive the message and the brain has to work out the significance of the message (p.153). So far, many scholars have been working out the definition of reading. According to Smith (1985), reading is to understand the author’s thought. Rumelhart (1997) proposed a different view on reading which is, in his opinion, actually an interaction between reader and text. This view was shared by a number of researchers (Silberstein, 1994; Goodman, 1971; Alderson, 2003; Griffiths et. al., 2011; Falke, 1982). Goodman (1971) in his book titled Reading: A Psycholinguistic Guessing Game put forward the definition that reading is a psycholinguistics process by which the reader, a language user, reconstructs as well as he can, a message which has been encoded by a writer as a graphic display, a cyclical process of sampling, predicting, testing and confirming (p.135). As Falke (1982) defined, in English the “graphic display” can be either printed or written. Among the many definitions of reading that have arisen in recent decades, a comprehensive view should account for the active process of using one’s won prior language knowledge and experience and the cues found in the text to understand what the writer has encoded (Saengpakdeejit, 2009), since reading is not simply a cognitive skill, nor does it have a straightforward outcome as the same text can be understood in different ways by different readers. For the recent study, however, reading also refers to the active thinking process that TOEIC test-takers take so as to understand and complete different reading tasks of the test. 5 [...]... levels Low proficiency students took part in TOEIC Level 1 that TOEIC score ranged from 200 to 300, high proficiency ones did in TOEIC Level 2 that TOEIC score ranged from 350 t0 450 At the end of 50 classes, they are asked to sit for a full TOEIC- based test They must get scores of 450 as one of the conditions to graduate To meet the requirements for a TOEIC 450 course, students should be at intermediate... what to teach in future 1.3.2 TOEIC Test In 2005, the Ministry of Education and Education testing Institute- based in US regarded the use of TOEIC to asset students’ English language proficiency Thus, universities in Vietnam can apply the TOEIC program to teach and evaluate students’ learning outcomes instead of the old program and tests for A, B, C certificates Firstly, the TOEIC (Test of English for... from 4 TOEIC preparation classes at the CFL Most of them were second year students in the academic year 2013-2014 at VMU They came from different departments at different levels Most of them were ranging their age from 19 to 20 Of the 100 students, 50 were at elementary level whose current TOEIC band scores ranged from 200 to 300, attend TOEIC Level 1, the other 50 were at intermediate level whose TOEIC. .. understand the questionnaire completely, Vietnamese was used 2.3.1.3 Reading test The reading tests include one full TOEIC Reading Test administered by the center which the researcher learn about the subjects’ current English reading proficiency marked in accordance with the TOEIC marking scale and two other partial tests These two tests are carefully chosen from TOEIC Preparation materials so that they... questions, inference questions and vocabulary questions” (Lougheed, 2007a, p.151) which readers are highly recommended to prepare for the new TOEIC test According to www.masterthetoeic.com, one of the most important skills readers will need to develop for the TOEIC is Skimming - this will help readers with many Questions in Part 6: Text Completion and Part 7: Reading Comprehension, especially with Inference... Reading section takes 75 minutes The content of the TOEIC is not specialized; the vocabulary and content are familiar to those individuals who use English in daily activities In TOEIC reading section, there are 100 multiple-choice questions which take 75 minutes Reading score scale ranges from 5 to 495 (Examinee handbook – Listening & Reading, 2012, p.2) TOEIC reading test is divided into three parts including... the focused research questions concerning 1) Which test-taking techniques became more effective for TOEIC Reading Comprehension test to the students at Vietnam Maritime University? 2) What are differences between the reading strategies employed by high proficiency and low proficiency students at Vietnam Maritime University? For the first category, the descriptive statistics of frequency method was... Which test-taking techniques became more effective for TOEIC Reading Comprehension test to the students at Vietnam Maritime University? The first research question showed that the majority of TOEIC strategies that students often exploit The findings from the questionnaire demonstrated that the TOEIC learners had habit of finishing single passages before double passages as a consequence of the fact that... from my teaching experience, I agree with such researchers in term of wrong answers in TOEIC reading comprehension which may be resulted in by choosing “too general, too vague or too specific” answers (p.129) As Forster et al (1997, p.9) recommend, answers B and C are the two most popular answer to questions in TOEIC, so it is worthy to advise students to mark B or C 12 when they have no idea for the... the methodology used to implement the research The chapter will cover four major parts, namely, participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis procedures 2.1 Settings This study was conducted at the Center of Foreign Languages, VMU At VMU, students have to take sit for a TOEIC- test which includes Reading and Listening comprehension for the final examination . proficiency students at Vietnam Maritime University. The subjects involved in the study are over 100 students of Vietnam Maritime University (VMU) chosen randomly from 4 TOEIC classes. Two classes. at Elementary Level (TOEIC Level 1), the other classes are at Intermediate Level (TOEIC Level 2). The data was collected from survey questionnaires, interviews and administration of two TOEIC tests for. 6 1.1.3. Reading process 6 1.2. Reading comprehension 7 1.3. Reading TOEIC Test 8 1.3.1. Test 8 1.3.2. TOEIC Test 9 1.4. TOEIC reading comprehension strategies 10 1.5. Study of cognitive process
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