The nature of gender differences across proficiency levels

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


A number of studies of language learning motivation have repeatedly reported female learners to be significantly more motivated than male learners to study foreign languages. In line with this, female learners have been also found to score higher on measures of proficiency than their male peers. However, motivational studies rarely control for students’ proficiency. Hence, it is not clear if the differences can be attributed to gender, proficiency or both factors.
1773 15-year-old Spanish learners of English (903 females and 870 males) participated in this study. All students completed all components of Aptis proficiency test (reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar and vocabulary) as well as a motivational questionnaire, which included eight motivational variables: ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, language learning experience, the English self, international orientation, instrumentality, parental encouragement and motivated behaviour. The data was initially analysed in Mplus (EFA, CFA, multi-group comparison), and then linear regression analysis was run to test whether proficiency levels have a moderation effect on the relationship between gender and motivation. In other words, whether the gender effects are different at different levels of proficiency.
The results show that there is not a statistically significant moderation effect of proficiency for any of the eight motivation variables tested in this study. That is, gender differences in motivation do not seem to change at different levels of proficiency for any of the eight motivation measures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2018
EventPsychology of Language Learning - Waseda University, Tokyo
Duration: 7 Jun 201810 Jun 2018
Conference number: 3


ConferencePsychology of Language Learning
Abbreviated titlePLL
Internet address


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