Research and analysis
Native speakers in A level modern foreign languages
This research relates to the presence of native speakers in A level modern foreign languages.
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The paper’s findings suggest that native and non-native speakers perform differently on the A level assessment and that there could be implications for the maintenance of standards. However, quantifying the size of any effect is challenging due to the low response rate in our study and the challenges of identifying native speakers. Furthermore, any implications for the maintenance of standards depend on the extent to which the proportion of native speakers in each A level MFL cohort has changed over time. If the proportion of native speakers has remained stable, there are unlikely to have been implications for maintaining standards, assuming that native speakers themselves perform similarly each examination series. While determining whether there have been any changes in the proportion of native speakers taking each A level MFL is not possible from this research alone, contextual information suggests that the proportion of native speakers taking these A level MFLs is likely to have increased over time.
On balance, this research therefore suggests that there is likely to be a small, yet important effect, of native speakers in A level MFL. However, given the challenges of identifying native speakers, the research also suggests that routinely monitoring the presence of native speakers in A level MFL each year would not be possible, and attempts to do so would not be proportionate. It is therefore recommended that thought is given to whether an adjustment to the standards is appropriate.
Published: 21 April 2017