Book: Technology-mediated Crisis Response in Language Studies
Chapter: 9. The Impact of Technology-informed Crisis Response on Post-pandemic Spanish Proficiency
With the return to a “new normal” (Egbert, 2020) post-pandemic, many questions remain, including about how the pandemic impacted student language proficiency (Moser et al., 2021). The current chapter explores the impact of changes brought about by the 2020 pandemic on student language proficiency, particularly the swift move to online language learning during Emergency Remote Language Teaching (ERLT) and our subsequent return to various course modalities post-pandemic, including traditional, blended/hybrid, and online courses. While pre-pandemic research has consistently found there to be little or no significant differences in terms of how modality impacts student proficiency (Aldrich & Moneypenny, 2019; Blake et al., 2008; Grgurović, et al., 2013), recent research on ERLT during the pandemic has shown mixed results. Authors (in press), for example, found that students forced to take their general Spanish courses online during the pandemic scored significantly higher on the STAMP test of language proficiency in three out of four skills–reading, listening and speaking (writing remained constant)–than those in the same courses offered solely face-to-face (F2F) pre-pandemic. We were curious to see if this trend would continue in the semesters immediately following ERLT, whence courses were simultaneously offered in both F2F/hybrid and online modalities. This chapter follows up on Authors (in press) findings by examining proficiency results in online and F2F courses during the 2021-22 academic year (AY), comparing them to F2F-only courses pre-pandemic, and online-only ERLT courses during the pandemic. Findings revealed significant proficiency gains among students in the post-pandemic F2F courses across three skills (reading, writing and speaking) as well as overall, compared to the online students as well as a much higher variability among students in the online courses. Additionally, both post-pandemic modality groups outperformed forced on-ground pre-pandemic students and underperformed forced-online ERLT students. These findings build upon our understanding of the impact of the pandemic on student language proficiency as we move forward into a new normal.