Foreign language anxiety in online college Spanish: Prevalence and effects on oral proficiency

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Higher education has seen an increase in enrollment in online (OL) language courses. This study (n = 176) examined why students chose to enroll in OL Spanish courses and if foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) in OL classes affects overall oral proficiency. Sex differences and FLCA in online Spanish classes were also examined. Quantitative methods included an online survey and a third-party proficiency exam, Versant for Spanish Test. Findings suggest that students do not register for OL Spanish courses to avoid speaking; however, a majority of OL Spanish students appear to suffer from FLCA. These students reported being anxious about a variety of scenarios in their OL language courses including the tests, large class size, lack of understanding or remembering the course material, and making speaking mistakes. Analyses of oral proficiency coupled with the responses to the survey showed that OL FLCA negatively correlated with oral proficiency. Notably, there was no significant difference between male and female students in self-reported FLCA.

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