Predictors of acquisition of Russian language listening skills by army intelligence specialists

dc.contributor.authorPope, Derwin Brenten
dc.contributor.committeechairHereford, Karl T.en
dc.contributor.committeememberCross, Lawrence H.en
dc.contributor.committeememberSalmon, Richarden
dc.contributor.committeememberFortune, Jimmie C.en
dc.contributor.committeememberWolfe, James F.en
dc.contributor.departmentEducational Research and Evaluationen
dc.description.abstractThe Army has approximately 2000 soldiers on active duty trained to be Russian linguists for duties as intelligence specialists. To maintain this group, 1100 to 1300 candidates are sent annually to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California, for an intensive 47 week basic Russian language course. Attrition rates for this course have been averaging a relatively high 20-30% for many years and studies have shown skills achieved at DLI decline rapidly after course completion. In addition, of those candidates completing this course, only 40-60% achieve the desired skill level 2 (of 5) upon graduation. In 1986-87, the Army collected data on a number of individual characteristics of soldiers going through four basic language courses (Spanish, German, Russian & Korean) for a four year longitudinal study to try to improve this situation. This research examined data for the Russian language students in listening skills for the DLI basic course through Advanced Individual Training (AIT), or approximately the first two years, to determine variables that might improve prediction for the selection of successful Russian linguists. The criterion variables were the scores achieved on the Defense Language Proficiency Test III (DLPT) listening section at the completion of DLI and during the follow-on training at AIT. Predictor data collected at the beginning and during DLI included variables on cognitive, personality (e.g., empathy), motivation/learning strategy and biographical (e.g., gender) characteristics. This study examines 23 variables in multiple regression and discriminant analyses to determine predictors or predictor combinations for success in second language learning. This effort was supplemented by a qualitative analysis based primarily on 36 interviews with Army Russian linguists in field assignments. Findings indicated improvements may be possible in the prediction of successful Russian linguist candidates by using additional screening instruments prior to assignments to DLI. For success on the DLPT at the end of DLI, the use of instruments to measure study habits, motivation, verbal ability, critical thinking, self confidence and prior language experience provided an increase over the Army's current baseline (predictor set Multiple R = .509 vs baseline = .359). For AIT, the Army's current predictor variables did not show up in the final equation. Again, an increase in predictive power was demonstrated with study habits, verbal ability, critical thinking, self confidence and ambiguity tolerance variables in the final equation (predictor set Multiple R = .516 vs baseline = .244). Additional insights were provided from the analysis of information gathered during interview sessions with Army Russian linguists in field assignments.en
dc.description.degreePh. D.en
dc.format.extentxiv, 264 leavesen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.relation.isformatofOCLC# 24449369en
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subject.lccLD5655.V856 1991.P674en
dc.subject.lcshLinguists -- Training ofen
dc.subject.lcshRussian language -- Translating -- Study and teachingen
dc.titlePredictors of acquisition of Russian language listening skills by army intelligence specialistsen
dc.type.dcmitypeTexten Research and Evaluationen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen D.en


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