How “Proficient” Is Proficient? Comparison of English and Relative Proficiency Rating as a Predictor of Bilingual Listeners' Word Recognition PurposeThe current study attempted to validate that English proficiency self-ratings predict bilinguals' recognition of English words as reported in Shi (2011)  and to explore whether relative proficiency ratings (English vs. first language) improve prediction.MethodOne hundred and twenty-four participants in Shi (2011)  and an additional set of 145 participants were included ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2013
How “Proficient” Is Proficient? Comparison of English and Relative Proficiency Rating as a Predictor of Bilingual Listeners' Word Recognition
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University–Brooklyn Campus, NY
  • Correspondence to Lu-Feng Shi: lu.shi@liu.edu
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Article
Research Article   |   June 01, 2013
How “Proficient” Is Proficient? Comparison of English and Relative Proficiency Rating as a Predictor of Bilingual Listeners' Word Recognition
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 40-52. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0029)
History: Received June 1, 2012 , Revised July 30, 2012 , Accepted August 4, 2012
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 40-52. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0029)
History: Received June 1, 2012; Revised July 30, 2012; Accepted August 4, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

PurposeThe current study attempted to validate that English proficiency self-ratings predict bilinguals' recognition of English words as reported in Shi (2011)  and to explore whether relative proficiency ratings (English vs. first language) improve prediction.

MethodOne hundred and twenty-four participants in Shi (2011)  and an additional set of 145 participants were included (Groups 1 and 2, respectively) in this study. All listeners rated their proficiency in listening, speaking, and reading (English and first language) on an 11-point scale and listened to a list of words from the Northwestern University Auditory Tests No. 6 (Tillman & Carhart, 1966) at 45 dB HL in quiet.

ResultsEnglish proficiency ratings by Group 2 yielded sensitivity/specificity values comparable to those of Group 1 (Shi, 2011) in predicting word recognition. A cutoff of 8 or 9 in minimum English proficiency rating across listening, speaking, and reading resulted in the best combination of prediction sensitivity/specificity. When relative proficiency was used, prediction of Group 1 performance significantly improved as compared to English proficiency. Improvement was slight for Group 2, mainly due to low specificity.

ConclusionSelf-rated English proficiency provides clinically acceptable sensitivity/specificity values as a predictor of bilinguals' English word recognition. Relative proficiency has the potential to further improve predictive power, but the size of improvement depends on the characteristics of the test population.

Acknowledgments
The author would like to thank all of the volunteers, whose participation contributed to this study. Portions of this work were presented at the 2011 American Academy of Audiology Convention in Chicago, Illinois and at the 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
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