Personality: A source of test bias?

Parviz Ajideh, Massoud Yaghoubi-Notash, Abdolreza Khalili


The present study investigated the relationship between the EFL learners’ personality traits and their performance on the English vocabulary and grammar tests. Based on this aim, first, 158 intermediate EFL learners were selected from among 324 language learners of a private language institute in Urmia (Iran) as the participants of the study based on their results on a proficiency test. Second, the participants respectively received the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992), the vocabulary test of the study, and the grammar test of the study for the determination of their personality traits, English vocabulary test performance, and English grammar test performance during three sessions in a 10-day period. The standard multiple regression was employed for data analysis. The results of the study showed that, the learners’ openness to experience and extraversion personality traits had significant positive correlations with their vocabulary and grammar test performance and these traits significantly contributed to the prediction of the variance in the results of these tests. It was argued that, personality may be regarded as a source of bias in second language test performance. The results of the study may provide practical guidelines for the EFL teachers and syllabus designers. Moreover, these results may have theoretical implications for second language testing specialists in the process of test validation.

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