Author Johari Mohamed Rais
Title The social and personal correlates of English language achievement of Malay pupils in Singapore.
Institute Thesis (M.Ed.) National University of Singapore
Year 1989
Supervisor Kamsiah Darlan
Call no. PE1068.S5 Joh
The objective of this study was to examine the extent of the relationship between socio-cultural factors and language achievement of the Malay child in Singapore schools. Social variables examined were socio-economic status as measured by types of home, parental level of education, language exposure in the home and parental attitude.

Personal variables hypothesised to make a contribution were language aptitude, attitude and motivational variables, namely, integrative motivation, instrumental motivation and intensity of motivation.  Sex differences and its contribution to language achievement was also examined.

The dependent variable, English Language achievement, was measured by the English grades in the Primary School Leaving Examination conducted by the Ministry of Education.

This study was developed to examine the needs of the Malay child in studying English with reference to whether language learning is more of an "acquisition" process than a "learned process".  The knowledge of the extent and nature of social and personal variables which provided or hindered input for language acquisition shall provide teachers with ideas in planning suitable strategies in the classroom.

The study revealed that the monitor-model (Krashen 1979) characterised by formal teaching is still relevant for the Malay child in English Language proficiency.  A good way to acquire language is by informal intake through a good language environment.  At the same time the child at Primary Six needs learned knowledge for conscious editing at this level before he is able to use the language spontaneously.

The sample for the study consisted of 105 boys and 105 girls taken from six different schools situated at different parts of Singapore.  The equal number of boys and girls was coincidental and not planned.  The students were from Primary Six classes aged from 11 to 12 years old.

The Elementary Modern Language Aptitude Test (EMLAT) designed by Carroll and Sapon was used to measure the language aptitude of pupils.  A self-administered, Likert-type questionnaire was used to measure the variables, language exposure in the home, parental attitude, pupil attitude, instrumental motivation, integrative motivation and intensity of motivation.  Data for parent's level of education and types of residence were provided by the pupils and further confirmed by the researcher through information obtained from the data bank of the Ministry of Education.  The schools provided the English Language grades for the Primary School Leaving Examination.

The Statistical Analysis System (SAS) was employed to analyse the data.  Descriptive analysis was used extensively.  Pearson's Product-moment correlation and the stepwise-multiple regression were also employed for the data analysis.

The study revealed that Language aptitude, attitude, socio-economic status as measured by types of homes and finally father's level of education were variables seen to be contributing to English Language achievement.  Variables that did not make a significant contribution to English Language achievement were language exposure at home, perceived parental attitude, integrative motivation, instrumental motivation, intensity of motivation and sex.

The total combined contribution of the variables to English Language achievement was 39.36%.  The most significant contributing factor to Language achievement was aptitude.  Language aptitude contributed 35.64% to the variance of English Language achievement.  Attitude of pupils towards the language accounted for 2.78% of the variance of English Language achievement.  The contribution of socio-economic status and father's education were negligible indeed.

The study thus showed that pupil's aptitude and attitude were the two best predictors of English Language achievement of the Malay child.