Oral Communication Apprehension and Its Relationship to Language Achievement and Attitudes Toward the Language Arts
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This study examined the occurrence of oral communication apprehension (OCA) among 547 sixth grade students in two Maryland schools. The focus was on the relationship between OCA and language achievement, as well as attitudes towards the language arts including sex differences. The Personal Report of Communication Fear Scale (McCroskey, 1977) was administered to categorize the subjects into five OCA levels - Low, Moderately Low, Moderate, Moderately High, and High. The scores gained on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills - Language Subtest were used to assess students' levels of language achievement, and their attitudes toward the language arts were measured by their scores on the Attitudes Toward the Language Arts Scale (Arlin-Hills) Frequencies and percentages were computed for estimating differences in the occurrence of oral communication apprehension among the groups and sexes while Chi-square analysis was used for testing significance of sex differences. Two-way ANOVA and Scheffe test for testing significance of sex differences in language achievement and attitudes to the language arts, as well as one-way ANOVA and intercorrelations of the scores of the PRCF and the two other measures were done to assess relationships between these variables. The following were the findings:
- The High OCA group consisted of 15 percent of the sample, the Low 16 percent and the three combined Moderate OCA groups 69 percent.
- Sex differences in the occurrence of OCA at each level were of no statistical significance, but slightly more girls than boys were highly apprehensive about oral communication.
- The Low and Moderate OCA girls' groups scored significantly higher in language achievement than boys in these groups.
- Sex differences in attitudes toward the language arts were not significant.
- There was a relationship between OCA and language achievement indicated by a statistically significant difference among the five group means and the high apprehensives scored below the sample mean, while the low apprehensives scored above.
- There was no relationship between OCA and attitudes towards the language arts as there was no statistically significant difference among the five OCA group means for the attitude scale.