The Perceptions of College Foreign Language Students Concerning their High School Foreign Language Preparation

The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of college students studying a foreign language concerning their high school foreign language study experience. In particular, the study examined students’ beliefs about factors that may have contributed to a successful transition into the study of foreign languages in college. The population consisted of college students from post-secondary schools in West Virginia who took a foreign language class. Students completed a survey designed to obtain grade point average data, language course completion history, type of language studied, in addition to subjective perceptions about effects of academic preparation, motivation, and overall feelings of success in foreign language study. Additionally, they rated the level of agreements for various statements concerning their high school FL experience. Data were analyzed by comparing mean scores of Likert-scale items, and by the general content of free responses. Results showed that minimal differences existed in perceptions for students who studied abroad. Factors such as high language choice and availability most heavily influenced language choice in college. However, language choice itself was not a significant effect on responses.