AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT
submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Master of Arts
to the Department of Education
of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
at the American University of Beirut
Title: The Role of Motivation, Gender, and Language
Learning Strategies in EFL Proficiency.
By Nada Michel
Dr. Ghazi Ghaith, Professor,
Dr. Saouma BouJaoude, Professor, Education- Member
Dr. Kassim Shaaban, Professor, English- Member of
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of motivation
(instrumental motivation, integrative motivation, effort, valence, expectancy,
and ability), gender, and language learning strategies (memory, cognitive,
compensation, metacognitive, affective, and social strategies) in English
as a Foreign Language (EFL) proficiency. Descriptive statistics (range,
means, and standard deviations), a Pearson Product-Moment Correlation analysis,
an Independent Sample T-Test, and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA)
tests were conducted to answer the questions raised in the study.
The participants were 147 female and male undergraduate students enrolled
in intensive English classes at the American University of Beirut (AUB).
The study employed a survey design which involved administering two different
questionnaires, the Motivation Scale (MS), developed by Wen (1997) and
modified by Shaaban and Ghaith (2000), to measure motivation, and the Strategy
Inventory for Language Learning (SILL), developed by Oxford (1990), to
measure Language Learning Strategies (LLSs). In order to determine language
proficiency, the verbal SAT scores were used.
The results of this study revealed, at the P < .05 alpha level, that,
although motivation in general does not correlate with EFL proficiency,
effort does, in favor of the high proficient. The findings also revealed
no significant gender differences in overall motivation; however, females
make more effort and have a higher perception of the valence of learning
EFL than males. In addition, the results did not show a significant role
for gender in EFL proficiency.
Furthermore, the results showed that overall strategy use does not play
a significant role in EFL proficiency; however, the results revealed a
low, negative correlation between the use of metacognitive strategies and
proficiency. The findings also revealed that the most frequently used strategies
were the cognitive and metacognitive strategies (with a significant correlation
between them), and the least frequently used strategies were the affective
strategies. Finally, the results showed no significant role for gender
in the overall use of language learning strategies, but they showed significant
differences between males and females in their use of memory, cognitive,
and compensation strategies, in favor of females.
The results are discussed and recommendations for further research are
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