2006．第21卷第2期（Vol. 21 No. 2）．pp. 195215
A Statistical Approach to Second Language Grammar Knowledge: A Longitudinal Study of Hong Kong Students
Ming-Ming CHIU, David CONIAM, & Eunice TANG（趙明明、龔大胃、鄧麗暚）
This study investigates students' grammar learning rates, with the aid of advanced statistical models. During a three-year study, 3,227 English as Second Language (ESL) students in 16 Hong Kong high schools (Grades 79) took four grammar tests. After calibrating the test questions with a three-parameter logistic model, scores were analyzed using multi-level analysis. The results indicate that students' grammar learning rates decrease over time and best fit a logarithmic curve. Furthermore, while ability grouping by school predicts grammar scores, it does not predict learning rates. Finally, higher achieving students in each school learned at slower rates, suggesting that instruction fell short of students' learning potential. Together, these results suggest that instruction might be developmentally inappropriate.
Keywords: English as a second language; individual differences; ability grouping