Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Professor Russell F. Waugh

Second Advisor

Dr. Anne Thwaite

Abstract

Following the tsunami in 2004, the education system in Banda Aceh, Indonesia,was reconstructed and revitalised, and part of this involved foreign intervention in setting up bilingual schools alongside state-run monolingual schools. The purpose of this study is threefold. The first is to investigate the achievements of first year middle school students in Banda Aceh (Indonesia) in English essay writing, English reading comprehension, and attitude and behaviour with regard to learning English, as dependent variables, in the context of differences in gender and school types (bilingual and monolingual schools). The second is to investigate attitude and behaviour of students with regard to the learning of English as a foreign language, especially regarding student ability in English. The third is to explore students’ beliefs and perceptions regarding their experiences of learning English as a foreign language.

A number of linear unidimensional scales were created for each of the three variables using Rasch Measurement with the 2010 RUMM computer program. The construct validity of the three variables was tested by designing the items in ordered patterns of item difficulty which were compared with their Rasch-measured item difficulties, as a Science-like test of the structure of the variables. An experimental research design (pretest/posttest, control/experimental group) was used with Raschcreated linear measures of three variables: (1) a researcher-designed English Essay Test; (2) a researcher-designed Reading Comprehension Test; and (3) a researcher-designed Attitude/Behaviour Test about Learning English. Seven hundred and eighty male and female first-year middle school students (aged 12-13 years old), consisting of 394 students from bilingual schools and 386 students from monolingual schools, selected from a number of schools with bilingual programs and monolingual programs, were the respondents for this study. After two months of lessons, the two groups were compared on each of the three measures using ANCOVA and ANOVA. Students’ written comments were collected in regards to their experiences of learning English as a foreign language.

The findings showed that bilingual students outperformed monolingual students in tests of English Reading Comprehension, English Writing and Attitude/Behaviour for both pretests and posttests. Female students achieved better results than male students in English Reading Comprehension, English Writing, and Attitude/Behaviour tests, both for pretests and posttest.

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