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Comparing the Effects of Test Anxiety on Independent and Integrated Speaking Test Performance



Integrated speaking test tasks (integrated tasks) offer textual and/or aural input for test takers on which to base their subsequent oral responses. This path-analytic study modeled the relationship between test anxiety and the performance of such tasks and explored whether test anxiety would differentially affect the performance of independent speaking test tasks (independent tasks) and the performance of integrated tasks. A total of 352 students studying English as a foreign language took two independent tasks for which they spoke without input support, performed two integrated tasks for which they orally summarized the reading and listening input, and completed the state anxiety inventory twice. To avoid topic effects, half of them took the tasks on one topic combination, and the other half took the tasks on another combination. Path analyses of the data reveal that (1) test anxiety significantly affected integrated performance, (2) test anxiety impacted independent performance and integrated performance in a statistically equivalent way, and (3) topic effects were absent. These findings suggest that the advantage of integrated tasks over independent tasks might not relate to the reduction of test anxiety or its impact on test performance and that integrated tasks suffer the construct validity threat posed by test anxiety as much as independent tasks.