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Title: Examining the notion of listening sub-skill divisibility and its implications for second language listening
Authors: Goh, Christine Chuen Meng
Seyed Vahid Aryadoust
Keywords: confirmatory factor analysis
listening sub-skills
second language listening
sub-skill divisibility
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: Goh, C. C. M., & Aryadoust, V. (2014). Examining the notion of listening sub-skill divisibility and its implications for second language listening. International Journal of Listening, 29(3), 109-133.
Abstract: The testing and teaching of listening has been partially guided by the notion of sub-skills, or a set of listening abilities that are needed for achieving successful comprehension and utilisation of the information from listening texts. Although this notion came about mainly through applications of theoretical perspectives from psychology and communication studies, the actual divisibility of the sub-skills has rarely been examined. This paper reports an attempt to do so by using data from the answers of 916 test takers of a retired version of the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) listening test. First, an iterative content analysis of items was carried out, identifying five key sub-skills. Next, the discriminability of sub-skills was examined through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Five independent measurement models representing the sub-skills were evaluated. The overall CFA model comprising the measurement models showed excessively high correlations between factors. Further tests through CFA resolved the inadmissible correlations, though the high correlations persisted. Finally, we made 23 aggregate-level items which were used in a higher-order model, which induced best fit indices and resolved the inadmissible estimates. The results show that the sub-skills in the test were empirically divisible, hence lending support to scholarly attempts in discussing components in the listening construct for the purpose of teaching and assessment.
Description: This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in International Journal of Listening. The published version is available online at
ISSN: 1090-4018
Other Identifiers: 10.1080/10904018.2014.936119
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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