Differences and Similarities between Oral and Written Competence in Spanish Pre-University Students: A Correlational Study

Jesús García Laborda – Universidad de Alcalá, España María Belén Díez-Bedmar – Universidad de Jaén, España Elena Martín Monje – Universidad Nacional a Distancia (UNED), España Miguel Fernández Álvarez – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, España

Jesús García Laborda, María Belén Díez-Bedmar, Elena Martín Monje y Miguel Fernández Álvarez 2018: "Differences and Similarities between Oral and Written Competence in Spanish Pre-University Students: A Correlational Study", Onomázein 42, 172-196.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.42.05

The Foreign Language (FL) section of Spanish University Entrance Examination (EFL-PAU) has had few revisions over the last twenty years. The Spanish government has substituted the old EFL-PAU University Entrance Examination by a high stakes Baccalaureate Final Evaluation. However, further changes are expected in the coming years. Among the most important ones for the Foreign Language Section is a deep and necessary revision with the inclusion of new types of tasks. To try and inform the decisions made for the new Baccalaureate Final Evaluation, this article reports on the quantitative and qualitative analyses conducted thanks to a pilot oral test carried out with 772 recorded candidate performances. Three main goals were established for this research: 1) to find out the most important variables which characterize foreign language learning in secondary school in Spain; 2) to find out if there is any correlation between the oral competence of students at the end of their non-compulsory secondary education (as obtained from the pilot study) and the marks students obtain in the University Entrance Examination (which does not include the oral skill); and 3) to find out any aspects related to EFL teaching and learning which may potentially enhance oral performance. The results of this paper provide rich information on the students’ foreign language learning context, the strong correlation between the written and oral competences and the need to pay attention to three variables which foster the development of oral foreign language in secondary school classrooms.