Report on Second Survey Wave (in German): Cindark, Ibrahim/Deppermann, Arnulf/Hünlich, David/Lang, Christian/Perlmann-Balme, Michaela/Schöningh, Ingo (2019): Perspektive Beruf. Mündliche Kompetenz von Teilnehmenden an Integrationskursen und Vorschläge für die Praxis. Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache: Mannheim.
For the Second Wave, we interviewed participants at the end of the integration course in module 6. The Second Wave took place in 38 general integration courses that had also participated in our first study, and was supported by the same course providers in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hessia, North Rhine Westphalia and Saxony.
The main goal of the Second Wave was creating a corpus of recordings for rating the language levels of course participants with regard to the topic area „job search” of the current course curriculum. The recordings were created via head set in the context of a simulated job interview with a recruiting company. While the specific task does not provide full insight into the complete oral competence of participants at the end of the integration course, introductions in the context of the job search represent one of the most important occasions for conversation as migrants enter the German labor market. By analyzing recordings the IDS-Goethe-Survey is able to compare actual language production to skills and learning objectives specified by various curricula in the past three decades.
The Second Wave was conducted in German. Only the introduction was offered in 15 languages. The questions that followed the audio recording were kept simple in their German formulation.
As with the First Survey Wave, multilingual assistants supported the conduction of the survey in the classrooms. Overall there were 520 participants, but only 254 of the First Survey Wave had remained in the courses. 266 new participants had joined the courses in addition. It was not possible to reiterate the extensive set of questions from the First Survey Wave with the new participants. We attained 247 recordings by the remaining participants and 255 by the new participants that were audible and could be used in the rating process. Among the 247 remaining participants were 138 refugees and 109 other migrants.
2. Semi-directional job interview
To determine course participants' oral language skills in the context of job-related communication, we collected recordings of their performance in a communication task. The task was performed semi-directionally with head-sets connected to a tablet. The goal was to elicit participants' representations of their career paths and career ambitions. We aimed for realistic information, while at the same time securing enough recorded speech to allow a rating of the participant's language level. A ficticious job interview with a recruitment agency served this purpose. A male and a female recruiter were introduced with their respective picture and alternated in asking questions about four topics:
Manuel Schmitt: First, I want to welcome you! Nice to have you here. My name is Manuel Schmitt, and I have been working as a recruiter for many years.
Anne Meyer: Yes, and I am Anne Meyer. I am also a recruiter and Mr. Schmitt and I will now conduct the job interview with you. And the interview will have four parts.
Manuel Schmitt: Right. We would like to start with a short introduction. Please tell us briefly who you are and where you are from.
Anne Meyer: Yes, thank you very much! Next we would like to know: what are your career expectations? What kind of jobs are you interested in?
Manuel Schmitt: Thank you! Next we would like to know: Why are you interested in this job/type of work?
Anne Meyer: Finally, a personal question: What do you like doing in your free time? Do you do any sports? Do you perhaps make music or do you like dancing? Or do you have a special hobby? What do you especially like doing?
3. Summary of Survey Results
The number of participants who reach the B1-Level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is suprisingly low in the Goethe-IDS-Survey. Of the 247 remaining participants from the First Wave only 2% definitely reached the B1-level. Of the 255 new participants, that had often attended courses longer or were assigned to the later modules based on prior knowlegde of German 8,6% reached the B1-Niveau according to the majority of the raters. In a very liberal interpretation of the ratings, ambiguous results were treated leniently and assigned to the next higher level. The results are shown below. At the most, 6,8% of all participants reach the B1-level.
Participants with the best preconditions to reach the A2-level are young, well-educated and have prior language-learning experience. The older and less educated participants are the harder is gets to attain the A2-level. Long durations of stay in Germany prior to participation in the course also have a significantly negative effect – probably because of untutored acquisition and incipient fossilization. These results are also reflected in the groups of learners we identified: The “Late Leavers” and the “Disadvantaged” have the least chances to reach the A2-level in the current courses.
Today, when courses start, groups of learners are already unequally distributed due to effects of urban and rural environments, but also because of the different needs of participants and the organizational limits of course providers. The adaptations we suggest for the course system in our research report are essential for these reasons.