English become the dominant language of knowledge and intellect in science and technology. Today, English is an important language to acquire in order to be part of the world as many countries including Malaysia exercised English as a second language. Gill (2005) in his journal cited that, the transformation in the role and the status of national language and English over the next half century is influenced by politics, nationalism, economics and science, and technology (Kaplan & Baldauf, 1997: 154; Martel, 2001: 35) which have exercise different degrees of influence.
While the government will implement vigorously the teaching of Malay language, measures will be taken to ensure that English is taught as a strong second language. This is important if Malaysia is to keep abreast of scientific and technological developments in the world and participate meaningfully in international trade and commerce (Third Malaysia plan 1976- 80, 1976: 397).
In this statement, it is clearly stated that English has been given a special place in education because of its important role and value in international trade and commerce. Maya Khemlani noted that;
Education has always been an important variable in language planning initiatives. It is one of the sectors where the implementation of the language policies normally starts. Students in schools, colleges and universities are taught the language and are encouraged to use the language in different domains of communication. Educators and other professionals in different fields are encouraged and motivated to write and publish books, articles and other written materials that will help to promote the language...(2005)
It is clearly shows that, the role of education are important as to enhance and promote the target language. Students who are about to pursue their first-degree courses in public institutions of higher learning in Malaysia are required to sit for MUET (Malaysian University English Test). This test is to measure pre-university students' proficiency level administered by the Malaysian Examination Council. The test includes listening, speaking, reading comprehension, and writing. Students are classified into six level of achievement which are Band 1 (below 100), Band 2 (100-139), Band 3 (140-179), Band 4 (180-219), Band 5 (220-259) and Band 6 (260-300). It is designed that students who scored poorly in MUET are required to attend several English classes as to attain to a certain level of proficiency. Hiu Luang Peng et al. cited that;
Many people assume that Band Three (Modest User) is the passing grade for MUET, but according to Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) subject officer, Khatija Mohd Tahir, this is not the case. There is no pass or fail mark. MUET is a criterion-referenced test as students' ability is measured against a set of criteria in terms of language proficiency required of university undergraduates' in. "The results show that students who do badly in the test simply do not have the (English) language ability to cope with university-level studies." To be able to use English effectively in university, Khatija says undergraduates should have a minimum Band Four (Competent User) (New Straits Times 26 October 2003). (2004)
Most of the students who sit in these classes find that English is a difficult language to master especially in writing and speaking. These students feel shy, uncertain, and unsecure when they are asked to speak in English. Since English has been taught at primary school level, it supposed to be comfortable for them to communicate in English.
Second language learning can sometimes be a devastating experience as many research have been done on language learning area found that anxiety can have a detrimental effect based on speaking performance yet numerous studies have found that anxiety is negatively related to language performance (MacIntyre 1999). Students' anxiety in the language classroom is said to be a competence-based. The students become anxious because they are unconfident with their language abilities. They are concerned about how their use of the target language will be evaluated by the interculator or target community.
Anxiety is a normal, even for a native speaker and over time, individual may find ways to reduce it. Too much anxiety will reduce and affect performances. Psychologists interpret anxiety in three of ways; traits anxiety, state anxiety and situation specific anxiety. Traits anxiety refers to an anxious person. She or he will feel anxious every time. On the other hand, state anxiety refers to temporary condition experienced at particularly moment for example, a student worried about the punishment after being caught skipping classes by the principle. Situation specific anxiety refers to a trait that happens in a specific situation. A person with this condition is nervous when he or she has to speak in English in front of the whole class.
Theoretically distinction between anxiety, phobia and fear are based on the degree to which the emotion is specific to a stimulus, or it appropriateness to a situation. Anxiety consists of unpleasant feelings of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry, which serve to alert us to the need to cope with stress. Anxiety may thus be legitimately labelled "normal" by statistical norms because of common occurrence, since everyone goes through anxiety to some extent from time to time. Falling in love, getting married, having a baby, passing an examination, may all be pleasurable but the very excitement produced by them may disturb other things in life and, because of this make demands upon the powers of coping of the individual concerns.
The final effect upon the individual is the summation of the effects of good and bad events, of trying to overcome difficulties and of driving oneself to increase achievement. Therefore, it is the combine effect of workload and the challenges of social life, which may bring not only the anxious face to face with difficulties, even the apparently thought, can reach the limitation of their coping ability. Anxiety is a vast used concept within the psychological literature yet it is often used to indicate diverse meanings. Fear, phobia, neurosis, and anxiety are the terms that are often used interchangeably, with definitional problems further complicated by the overlap in use of the terms anxiety and stress. Anxiety is not only presumed to underlie 'anxiety disorders' such as agoraphobia, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress but anxiety also covers language learning anxiety. The terms anxiety thus has many meanings as reflected in both psychological definitions and lay description; it is possible to say that 'I am an anxious person', that 'I am anxious when at the dentist', that 'I feel anxious' or that 'I avoided the party because I was anxious about meeting people'. According to Edelmann (1992), he cited that, anxiety involves responses in three main behavioural systems; motor behaviour, linguistic expression and psychological states. Avoidance behaviour increased or decreased gesturing, changes in posture and trembling are examples of motor responses. The linguistics expression component includes (verbal-cognitive systems by Lang 1968, 1971), which refers to 'cognitive events' or verbal reporting such events which includes all aspects of the individual's perception and evaluation of the stimuli concerned. Increases in heart rate, respiration, sweat gland activity, and muscle tone are generally assumed associated with psychological component. Language learning anxiety has a devastating effect on language learning process. According to Lindy Woodrow (2006), she cited that;
Language learning anxiety is too specific to be captured by general anxiety measures (2006).
In the statement, it is undoubtedly stated that general anxiety measures is different from learning anxiety. Learning anxiety is too specific and could not be captured by general anxiety measures which means learning anxiety and anxiety are different. The anxiety experienced by language learners is said to be unique to the language learning process and completely distinct from other forms of anxiety (Horwitz et al.,1986; MacIntyre, 1999). Foreign language classroom anxiety scales (FLCAS) (Horwitz 1986; Aida 1994; Philips 1992; Cheng 1999), language class anxiety (Saito & Sammy 1996), French class anxiety and French use anxiety (MacIntyre & Gradner 1989) are the types of measure that have been used in the past studies.
There has been a numerous number of research on second language anxiety and or foreign language anxiety. The result also inconsistent in determining the relationships between foreign language anxiety and performance in the target language. Some found positive relationship, and others negative, while others found no relationship at all (Naciye and Danyal, 2010). The inconsistency of research result was because the researchers did not specify the type of anxiety they were measuring, Scovel (1978).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
English proficiency courses are a requirement for all Malaysian university students. This is aimed to enhance their English skills especially communication skills. The policy is introduced with the primary aim to improve the level of English proficiency among all Malaysian university students with hope that this will enable them to secure jobs after they finish their study. Bachelor of Arts in (English) students who achieved Band 1, Band 2 and Band 3 in MUET are required to attend several English proficiency courses. Students who obtained Band 4, Band 5 and Band 6 are not required to take the proficiency courses. Therefore, this study is to seek the effect of anxiety on speaking performance of students who are exempted from proficiency courses.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this research is to study the effect of anxiety towards language performance of students using Second Language Speaking Anxiety Scale (SLSAS) and oral assessment.
1.4 Objectives of the study
The specific objectives of the study are as the following:
To determine the level of anxiety of students
To examine the relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of students
1.5 Research questions
For this purpose, we address ourselves to the following questions:
What is the level of anxiety of the students?
What is the relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of students?
1.6 Significance of the study
This study will benefit the scholars, lecturers, and students. Besides that, this study will help course planners and ESP practitioners to design effective teaching methods, which, can reduce language anxiety thus, can help learners to minimize the anxious feeling and perform better in speaking.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The limitation of this study is the nature of the sample. The sample which been used for this study was one type only. Therefore, we could not compare and contrast with other type of samples. Besides, this study is limited to Malay students who Malay was their medium of communication. The subjects who participated in this study also were deemed to have fair proficiency level of English. Therefore, we could not determine whether their anxiety was based on speaking ability or the knowledge of the language that cause the anxiety.
This first section of this chapter covers the theoretical perspectives, which underpin the study. This is followed by the review of literature pertaining to anxiety and speaking particularly in the second language contexts. It discusses the definition of anxiety, types of anxiety, and anxiety test.
2.1 The definition of key terms
Anxiety is unpleasant state that includes increased biological arousal, negative feelings, negative thoughts and inward focus of attention. Besides, anxiety is reflecting the ability to think. According to Longman Contemporary English Dictionary (2003), anxiety is the feeling of being very worried about something. In the context of learning environment, anxiety is feeling anxious, shy, embarrass, worried, trembling, changes in posture (Lang 1968, 1971) in specific situation (Spielberger, Anton and Bedell 1976). Mouth goes dry, breathing become rapid and uneven, heart start to race, blush, sweat excessively tremble or feel dizzy are the symptoms when anxiety strikes (Sharpe and Lewis, 1979).
ii) Language Anxiety
It is a distinct complex of self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings and behaviours related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness of the language process (Horwitz et al., 1986). Language anxiety normally occurs whenever the language learners face a daunting task to perform in the language classroom. It is also a common feeling among the L2 and F1 learners particularly when they are assessed on their competency in the language task (young, 1992; 1986).
iii) Speaking Performance
Speaking can be defined as the act of conveying information or expressing one's thoughts and feelings in spoken language, whereas, performance can be defined as â€¦. Speaking performance been carried out to measure the communication skills.
2.2 Types of Anxiety
Anxiety is classified as a traits anxiety, state anxiety, and situation specific anxiety in educational research, which involves responses in 'three main behavioural systems' (Lang 1968) consisting largely independent components of motor behaviour, linguistic expressions and physiological states.
2.2.1 Traits Anxiety
Anxiety is categorized as being trait when a person who is anxious, always feels anxious. A trait anxiety signifies a person's continual tendency to react with state anxiety since she or he is persistently expecting bad circumstances to transpire. Anxiety disorder generally associated with people who have trait anxiety. Traits anxiety also is regard as a fixed stage of anxiety by scholars. A person who a traits anxiety has the tendency to become more anxious and persistently displays unhealthy reaction when he experience stimuli that incite him. Rain, mushroom or hand phone may trigger a person who suffers from trait anxiety to become more anxious. A normal person might not see rain or mushroom as a threat but to a person who suffers from trait anxiety, it can be extremely unpleasant for them.
2.2.2 State Anxiety
A person who is anxious always feels anxious in variety situation but a state of anxiety is a temporary condition at a particular moment. State anxiety is identified as an unpleasant emotional stimulation that occurs when a person is an encounter frightening stressors or dangers is identified as a state anxiety. Fear, tension and apprehension in particular situation is known as a temporary emotional condition. Rubbing the palms of the hands on a pants and licking the lips are physiological arousal and observable behaviour indicators that relate to state anxiety. However, the correlation between physiological and psychological measures of state anxiety are quite low and can produce conflicting results.
2.2.3 Situation Specific Anxiety
Another type of anxiety is a situation specific anxiety where a person feels anxious in a specific situation. It has been identified that language-learning anxiety is one of the situation specific anxiety. Reflecting worry or emotionality can be categorized as anxiety (Leibert and Morris, 1967). Emotionally refers to psychological reaction and behavioural reaction (Zeidner, 1998). The theory anxiety of foreign language occurring at each three stages; input, processing and output (MacIntyre and Gardner, 1994b). Anxiety at input stage refers to the uneasiness that the students experience when they are presented with a new word or phrases in the target language. "Anxiety experienced at this stage may reduce the effectiveness of input by limiting the anxious student's ability to attend to material presented by the instructor and reducing the student's ability to represent input internally", (Tobias, 1977).
2.3 Anxiety test
Anxiety has debilitating effect on the language learning process (Woodrow 2006). Anxiety test is refers to cognitive, affective and behavourial responses that accompany concern about possible failure in evaluation situations (Zeidner and Safir 1988). Anxiety is different from language anxiety as it support Macintyre and Gardner (1989, 1991a) research general anxiety measures could not capture language learning anxiety as it is too specific. A huge number of second language and foreign language anxiety research been done, many studies prove that relationship between anxiety and performance in foreign language is negatively related (MacIntyre 1999).
Meanwhile, numerous researchers (Everson, Millsap, & Rodriguez, 1991; Hancock, 2001; Spielberger & Vagg, 1995) assert that relationship between test anxiety and achievement is negative. Anxiety test is viewed as a complex form, which includes various elements (Benson, 1998; Zeidner, 1998). Table 1 summarizes the findings of some of the correlational studies involving foreign/second language anxiety (Woodrow, 2006)
Table 2.3: Relationship between foreign language anxiety and performance variables
Final course grade
r = -.38, p = <.01
Oral test grade
r = -.40, p = <.01
Speaking course grade
r = -.28, p = <.001
Sait and Samimy (1996)
Language class anxiety
Final course grade
r = -.51 - -.52, p = <.01
Macintyre and Gardner (1989)
French class anxiety
French use anxiety
r = -.31 - -.42, p = <.001
r = -.40 - -.50
The performance on any task will be impaired if anxiety is too high or too low, but somewhere between these lies the ideal degree of anxiety for producing best performance (Powell and Enright 1990). However, there were quite a number of research that had been conducted found that, there were a negative colleration between foreign language anxiety and the performance in a large number of context and situation (see Horwitz, 1986; Horwitz, 1996; Kunt, 1997; Yan, 1998; Sellers. 2000; Kitano, 2001; Yan and Wang, 2001 Naciye and Danyal, 2010).
Furthermore, a number of studies have examined foreign language anxiety in relation to specific language skills, such as reading, listening, writing, and speaking (see Saito and Samimy, 1996; Cheng, 1998; Cheng, Horwitz, and Schallert, 1999; Horwitz and Garza, 1999; Sellers, 2000; Argaman and Abu- Rabia, 2002; Cheng, 2002); Elkhafaifi, 2005). These studies have used skill-specific instruments to measure foreign language anxiety. Naciye and Danyal (2010) found that, age, years of study, gender, prior experience of living in or visiting in or visiting the target culture, academic achievement, prior experience of learning foreign languages, self-perceived foreign language proficiency, self-perceived scholastic competence, perceived self-worth, and perfectionism, are among other variables that are related to the negative correlations between foreign language anxiety and achievement. The learners who are at advanced levels or have experienced of living in or visiting the target language are more having a tendency of foreign language anxiety.
The anxiety levels of male students became higher as those students perceived themselves as less competent (Kitano, 2001) which support the evidence that there is a relationship between anxiety and gender. The relationship between foreign language anxiety and achievement can be affected by a number of learner, environmental, and social factors and all this variables have been well documented in foreign language anxiety past research. The concept of foreign language anxiety and performance has been focused mainly on foreign language learning anxiety experienced by the students. Non-native foreign language teachers are also foreign language learners; therefore, it is wrong to disregards them as one of the factor, which contribute to language learning anxiety. Although they may be advanced users of the target language, it is safe to say that the language learning process is never complete (Horwitz, 1996).
This chapter discusses the research methodology adopted for the study. It describes the design of the study, the subject, the instruments utilized to collect the data, data collection procedures, and data analysis procedures of the study.
3.1 Research Design
This study used quantitative approach, which employed a survey design. This study is utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, which are questionnaire, and oral assessment.
Twenty students (all females) of Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication (FBMK), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), who were majoring in English Linguistic, were participated in this study. The subjects were all in the final year and full-time undergraduates. The subjects' ages were around 21-23 years old. The subjects were those who obtained Band 4 in MUET. As a result, some of them were required to attend the proficiency class. The subjects were identified using non-probability sampling technique, as it was convenient to use it. Based on their MUET result, their knowledge of English was deemed to be fair. Therefore, they were presumed to be detrimentally affected in their speaking performance in the speaking performance task. The basis assumption is that, they may perceive the speaking test as a threatening situation, which could raise the anxiety level as it, depends on their knowledge of English.
The instruments that were used in this study were a set of questionnaire, which consists of twelve items on a five-point Likert - type scale namely, Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS) (Appendix A1), and an oral assessment (Appendix A2). The questionnaire is designed to determine the level of anxiety of the subjects and the oral assessment is to seek subjects' performance.
3.3.1 Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS)
The items on questionnaire reflect the situations that the subject might encounter according to the communicative setting, interlocutor variables, and the nature of the communicative setting. The communicative setting items are based on in- class and out-class situation. The interlocutor variables are referring to the number of speaker, the status of the speakers. The nature of communication is reflecting the initiation and responds in speaking interaction. The questionnaire is revised version based on empirical and theoretical justifications of Woodrow (2003). The questionnaire-measured students' self-reports of anxiety over various aspect of speaking. It also elicited students' perceptions toward speaking English in class. The questionnaire was divided into two parts. Part I consisted five open-ended questions to inquire subjects' background information. Part II consisted twelve items on a five-point Likert - type scale.
3.3.2 Oral Assessment
The oral assessment is consists one question. Every subject will get the same picture. The assessment is designed to seek the speaking performance of the subjects'. The task is constructed based on the subjects' proficiency over all. The subjects need to describe what is in the picture and answer some questions.
Table 3.1: Summary of the research designs, variables, sampling designs and instruments of the study
- Quantitative study
- Survey design
- Level of anxiety
- Speaking performance
- Non-probability sampling
- 20 first year degree students
- 19-21 years old
- All females
- Homogenous group: Malay students
- L1: Bahasa Melayu
- Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale
- Oral assessment
3.4 Data Collection Procedures
The data collection procedures for this study consisted of 2 stages. Before the data collection procedure began, the respective lecturer was instructed to inform the subjects about the oral assessment prior to the actual speaking test. The lecturer was also instructed to inform the subjects that the tests were part of their semester course assessment. First stage, Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS) questionnaires were given to the subjects on a class session. The subjects were given 5 minutes to answer the questionnaire before the oral assessment began. The questionnaire was made to elicit students' self-reports regarding anxiety.
Second stage, was oral assessment. All subjects were given the same series of pictures. Three minutes were granted to each of the subject to revise all the pictures before the lecturer began the evaluation on the subject. The task was approximately five minutes and the grade will been given raging from very poor to very good based on fluency, language usage, and pronunciation. Since, there was no sufficient time for every subject to be assessed during their regular class meeting, some of the data collection procedures for this study were carried out outside the subjects' regular class meeting.
Stage 1 (5 minutes)
Language Class Anxiety
Stage 2 (8 minutes)
Total time required : 13 minutes
Figure 3.4: The stages of the data collection procedures
3.5 Data Analysis
3.5.1 Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS)
The questionnaires were analyzed using Microsoft Office Excel 2007. The items were measured by the extent to which the participants agreed or disagreed with the statements. The scores would indicate the level of anxiety experienced by the subjects. Based on the Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale, the subjects were divided into five-anxiety group: not at all anxious, slightly anxious, moderately anxious, very anxious and extremely anxious. They were grouped based on the scores as in Table 3.5.1 below:
Table 3.5.1: Division of the subjects into anxiety group
Not at all anxious
3.5.2 Oral assessment
For oral assessment, the subjects' knowledge about the picture will be not taking into account, as this is only to measure their communication skills. The performance of the subjects were analyzed based on ability to comprehend, and make himself or herself understood; volume; pronunciation, correct and effective use of vocabulary, and accurate use of grammar structures.
Table 3.5.2: Division of the subject based on performance
Result and Discussion
This chapter reports the findings of the study, which will form the basis of the results. The discussion of the result was based on the data gathered from Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale questionnaire and oral assessment. The findings have answered the research questions, which are as follows: what is the level of anxiety of the students? What is the relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of students?
4.1 Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale Analysis
Figure 4.1: Level of Anxiety among the Subjects
Figure 4.1 shows the level of anxiety among the subjects. Based on the score of Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale, the subjects were divided into five level; not anxious at all (1-12), slightly anxious (13-24), moderately anxious (25-36), very anxious (37-48), and extremely anxious (49-60). 1 of the subjects was classified in not at all anxious level, 5 of the subjects were in slightly anxious level, 6 of the subjects were in moderately anxious level, 6 subjects were in very anxious level and 2 of the subjects were in extremely anxious level.
From the figure above, we can conclude that, the subjects have different level of anxiety, therefore, they may perceive oral assessment differently which may result differently. Furthermore, it can be deduced that, language proficiency level do not have a relationship between the level of anxiety of the subjects have. There is a possibility that their anxiety level was evoked by the test anxiety factor which has also been found to evoke anxiety among anxious individuals (Covington and omelich , 1987)
Table 4.1: Means for Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS)
Giving oral presentation
Role-play in front of class
Contribute formal discussion
Answer question teacher
Take part group discussion
Speak informally teacher
Conversation administrative staff
Answer question lecturer
Ask question lecturer
Take part in conversation with more than one native speaker
Answer question native speaker
Start conversation native speaker
Table 4.1 shows means for Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS). From the figure above, giving oral presentation in class was classified as the major stressor for in-class-anxiety while, asking advice in English from lecturer or supervisor was the major stressor for out-class-anxiety. Besides that, contribute to formal discussion and role play in front of the class can be considered as second and third major stressor in-class-anxiety.
4.2 Oral Assessment Analysis
Figure 4.2: Subjects' Speaking Performance
Figure 4.2 shows subjects' speaking performance. The scores were divided into five level; very poor (35%-49%), poor (50%-64%), moderate (65%-79%), good (80%-89%), and very good (90%-100%) to rank their performance according category. There was 1 subject fell under very poor category and 3 subjects under poor category. Besides that, 9 subjects were under moderate category and 5 subjects were classified under good category, whereas 2 subjects were under very good category. Based on the figure above, we can conclude that, all subjects performed moderately in their oral assessment.
4.3 Relationship between the Level of Anxiety and Speaking Performance of the Subjects
Figure 4.3 : Relationship between the Level of Anxiety and Speaking Performance of the Subjects
Figure 4.3 shows the relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of the subjects. The subjects were divided according to their level of anxiety score based on Second Language Class Anxiety Speaking Scale; not anxious at all, slightly anxious, moderately anxious, very anxious, and extremely anxious. There were 1 subjects who is under very anxious category scored very poor in oral assessment. Besides that, there were 3 subjects (1 subject from moderately anxious category and 2 subjects from very anxious category) who scored poorly and 10 subjects (3 subjects from slightly anxious category, 4 subjects from moderately anxious category, 2 subjects from very anxious category and 1 subject from extremely anxious category) performed moderately. In addition, there were 5 subjects (2 subjects from slightly anxious category, 2 subjects from moderately anxious category and 1 subject from very anxious category) obtained good score, while, 2 subjects (1 subject from not anxious at all category and 1 subject from extremely anxious category) get very good score.
Based on the figure above, we can conclude that, there is no relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of the subjects. The result suggested that the level of anxiety could not determine the subjects' speaking performance. Even though the subjects may perceive oral assessment as a threat yet, their speaking performance result might be good or bad, based on individual knowledge of second language.
This research focuses on determining whether the level of anxiety of the subjects affect their speaking performance. The first research question which is, what is the level anxiety of the students is measured using Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS). The results demonstrate that, the subjects have different level of anxiety even though their knowledge of English was deemed to be fair. The second research question; what is the relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of the subjects which measured using oral assessment shows that there is negative relationship between the level of anxiety and speaking performance of the subjects (see figure 4.4). However, language anxiety does affect oral performance negatively, which similar to the findings of other researchers (see Table 2.3).
Figure 4.4: Correlation between Level of Anxiety and Speaking Performance
Most of the subjects were able to perform moderately in oral assessment. There are several possible explanations can be drawn from these results. First, the subjects might have enough exposure in English-speaking-environment as most of the courses were held in English. Second, the students might feel comfortable to speak in English as English is their medium of communication at home. Moreover, most of the subjects started learning English formally as early as five years old.
Nonetheless, there are several students who performed poorly in oral assessment. The subjects might feel that they could not performed better as they were given a little amount of time to prepare themselves before speaking, as it is actually related to skills deficit types of anxiety (Woodrow, 2006). Apart from that, speaking in a formal setting is viewed as a product. This finding is similar to the finding of a study by McCroskey (1997) where most of people experience speaking apprehension in a formal setting. The subjects may hesitate, stumble or look uncomfortable when they performed oral presentation. Furthermore, another possible explanation is the subjects may focus on learning activity rather than focus on communication skills. This might be because of the lecturers or language teachers only focus on certain language structure or linguistic features in class, therefore, the students feel unmotivated to learn the target language.
Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter discusses the findings reported in the preceding chapter and provides conclusions and implication based on the results of this study. A summary is presented according to important findings gained from the study. In addition, the limitations and implications of the study, and suggestion for future research are also discussed.
5.1 Summary and conclusion
This study investigated the effect of anxiety towards language performance of students on randomly selected sample of fair proficiency level Malay ESL university students. 20 female of fair proficiency English level of Bachelor of Arts (English) participated in this study. A questionnaire, namely, the Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS) and oral assessment were utilized in this study. The questionnaire was used to measure the level of anxiety of the subjects while the oral assessment was used to obtain subjects' speaking performance. Both data collection from the questionnaire and oral assessment were analyzed and combined to determine the relationship between level of anxiety and speaking performance of the students. based on the data, a conclusion was drawn: the level of anxiety could not determine the subjects' speaking performance. However, anxiety does affect speaking performance negatively.
5.2 Suggestions for the future research
The findings gained from this study suggest several directions for further research. There is a need for study using different samples at different gender and level of proficiency based on Malaysian University English Test (MUET). It would interesting to know the influence of anxiety on low and high proficiency level of L2 learners. If the researcher interested to examine the effect of anxiety on speaking performance of final year student, English proficiency test must be done to the subjects. This to make sure the subjects belong to the right group of proficiency level.
Besides that, future study, which intends to examine the level of anxiety, should consider administering the Second Language Anxiety Speaking Scale (SLSAS) questionnaire before and after oral assessment instead of conducting the survey prior to the level of anxiety of the subject. This is to enable the researcher to determine whether there is consistency on the level of anxiety of the subjects after the oral assessment.
Moreover, for the oral assessment, the researcher must use MUET or EILTS type oral assessment. The oral assessment must takes around 15 minutes. This will allow the researcher to observe, whether the subjects posses skills deficit types of anxiety or information retrieval anxiety, or both. The oral assessment should also been conducted in a form of an interview. The topics that been discussed during the interview must cover some aspect of subjects' past, present and future situation.
Furthermore, a semi-structured interview should be done to obtain subjects' experience concerning second language speaking anxiety. This will help the researcher to observe other stressors that occur in speaking English in-class and out-class class. The interview questions must relate to what situation the subjects feel anxious, how they react and what strategy that they use to overcome speaking anxiety.