Published November 13, 2023 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Comparing LESLLA and Non-LESLLA Learners' Emotions Associated with Portfolio-Based Language Assessment


We report findings from a study of a federally mandated portfolio-based language assessment (PBLA) protocol in Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programs. LINC has two streams: one for students who have well-developed first language literacy and the other for those with beginning levels of literacy (i.e., LESLLA learners). Researchers and LINC instructors have questioned the appropriateness of PBLA for use with LESLLA learners mainly because it is not responsive to their needs (e.g., IRCC, 2020) and causes undue stress (Abbott et al., 2021). Few studies have investigated LESLLA learners' perceptions of PBLA and no research has examined the differential impact of PBLA on students' emotions across the two LINC streams (General and Literacy). Because emotions can influence students' engagement, motivation, and ultimately their L2 learning in the classroom (e.g., MacIntyre et al., 2019), we used positive psychology (MacIntyre, 2021) to guide our exploration of a range of students' positive and negative emotions towards PBLA and compared them across the two streams. LINC students (N = 109) from eight high-beginner level classes completed a questionnaire consisting of 18 Likert items designed to measure nine positive and nine negative emotions related to PBLA. Bi/multilingual interpreters assisted the literacy learners. A MANOVA indicated that literacy students reported statistically significantly higher negative emotions scores than those students in the General stream. Post-hoc comparisons revealed that the literacy learners had significantly greater agreement with the items that captured stress and dread. Implications for LINC instruction, programming, and policy are discussed. 



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