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What happens in the pretest: An empirical investigation of pretesting effects in incidental L2 vocabulary learning.

Incidental vocabulary learning is one of the most extensively researched topics in SLA. A commonly used design to measure the effect of an incidental learning activity (e.g., reading, listening, viewing), is the pretest-posttest design. However, this design may be susceptible to inadvertent learning effects caused by pretesting (e.g., Swanborn & de Glopper, 1999). Pretesting effects are well-documented in psychological and educational research (e.g., Chan et al., 2018), but have received little attention in L2 vocabulary learning. Pretesting effects may have a considerable impact on research findings and their implications for L2 pedagogy. 

The project will investigate to what extent the use of pretests affects the process and outcomes of incidental L2 vocabulary learning from reading. Study 1 will examine how much variance in incidental learning outcomes is explained by using a pretest, and how the effect is moderated by the time gap between the pretest and the treatment, the use of distractor items, and the test format. Study 2 will use eye-tracking and verbal reports to measure the pretesting effect on attention during reading. Study 3 will home in on learners’ cognitive engagement with the pretest, by (a) comparing a pretesting and a pre-learning condition, (b) examining the effect of morphemic cues in pretest items, and (c) measuring response times. The project will contribute to more empirically informed use of pretests in L2 vocabulary research. 

Date:1 Oct 2022 →  Today
Keywords:L2 vocabulary, incidental learning, pretesting effects
Disciplines:Language acquisition, Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, Theory and methodology of linguistics not elsewhere classified