Nelson, Robert H.||Ende, Russell S.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Education
Language and languages--Study and teaching; Music; Influence of
Problem. A new and reliable type of aptitude test has been needed to determine capacity for learning a foreign language. Measures of ability to discriminate in Pitch have shown possibilities as aptitude tests. It was the purpose of this study to evaluate further the measure of Pitch and to learn whether other factors in musical sounds might not be as good or better as predictors. Procedure. The portions of the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents designed to test ability for discrimination in Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory were administered to seventy-one first year students in two college French classes, one ninth grade French class, and two ninth grade Spanish classes. The average of scores for these four tests was used as a fifth measure. Coefficients of correlation were determined between scores from these tests and (1) semester grades for all five classes and (2) scores from aural comprehension tests in the three ninth grade classes. Results of the study. Correlations with semester grades for the combined five classes were: Pitch, .37; Rhythm, .12; Timbre, .10; Tonal Memory, .14; average of scores for the four measures, .26. Coefficients of correlation with grades for the two college French classes, between .00 and .20, showed almost no relationship. Correlations for the three ninth grade classes ranged from .25 to .60 except for one negative score. Ranges of coefficients of correlation for the individual ninth grade classes were: French, .30 to .60; Spanish class A, .35 to .52; Spanish class B, -.13 to .28. No single musical measure stood out. Scores for Pitch and Timbre and the average of scores of Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal memory combined tended to be highest. Correlations for Rhythm were low. The means of the raw scores for all five classes combined showed a reversal of the rankings of correlations for Pitch and Rhythm: Rhythm, 45.32; Timbre, 43.04; average of all four scores, 42.22; Tonal Memory, 40.57; Pitch, 39.91. Correlations with scores from aural comprehension tests for the combined three ninth grade classes were: Pitch, .37; Rhythm, .43; Timbre, .45; Tonal Memory, .27; average of the four scores, .40. For the individual ninth grade classes, the ranges of coefficients of correlation were: French, .23 to .50; Spanish class A, .07 to .62; Spanish class B, .44 to .67. The average of scores for Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory was consistently high for all three classes. Rhythm correlations were high for the Spanish classes and Timbre correlations were high for French. Conclusions. 1. Musical discrimination tests as used in this study have little value as predictors of success in foreign language learning at the college level. 2. The Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory portions of the Seashore Measures have moderate value as predictors of success in foreign language learning in junior and senior high schools. 3. Scores from the Seashore Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory measures and their average are close in value as predictors of language learning ability. 4. The average of scores from the Seashore Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory measures should be more accurate than any one by itself as a single predictor of capacity for learning a language in junior and senior high schools. 5. The Seashore measure for Rhythm could be a single predictor of ability for aural comprehension of Spanish and the Timbre measure a single predictor for French in Junior and senior high schools. 6. The Seashore Pitch, Rhythm, Timbre, and Tonal Memory tests probably predict better capacity in the single skill of aural comprehension than ability in all language skills at the junior and senior high school levels.
Blickley, J. Ford, "Musical discrimination as a predictor of success in foreign language learning" (1966). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4075.
ix, 67 pages
Northern Illinois University
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