Listeners are integral parts of second language (L2) oral performance assessment. However, evaluation of listeners is susceptible to listener background variables and biases. These variables and preexisting biases distort native speaker (NS) listeners’ perceptions of non-native speakers’ (NNSs) speech performance and contribute errors into their oral performance assessment. Among listener background variables, listeners’ first language status, the amount of exposure to different English varieties, listeners’ educational background, prior language teaching experience, NNSs’ linguistic stereotyping, and listener attitude have been investigated in the literature and assumed to exert sizable amount of variation in speakers’ oral proficiency true scores. To minimize listeners’ bias in the assessment context, listeners are provided with intensive training programs in which they are trained how to rate NNSs’ speech more objectively utilizing scoring rubrics. To mediate listeners’ bias in social contexts, the literature has provided strands of evidence in favor of structured intergroup contact programs, which are inoculations particularly devised to improve NSs’ attitude, thereby making them more receptive to NNSs’ English varieties. To enhance L2 listeners’ self-efficacy and foster their autonomy, L2 instructors are encouraged to emphasize explicit instruction of listening strategies.
Part of the book: Metacognition in Learning