In the area of second or foreign language oral proficiency, previous research has not examined the effect of different lengths of pre-task planning time on the individual speaking habits of L2 learners. The present study aimed to address this problem by examining the influence of planning time on the speech production of accuracy-oriented and fluency-oriented EFL learners under three planning conditions: zero, one and three minutes. A pretest-posttest experimental design was employed to investigate the two research questions. Three oral picture description tasks constituted the pretest and two posttests, which were administered to the subjects in individual sessions. The pretest, the purpose of which was to classify subjects into accuracy-oriented and fluency-oriented speakers, was administered under a no-planning time condition to upper-intermediate EFL learners enrolled in the English Language Institute at the American University in Cairo. The two posttests were administered under a one-minute and three-minute planning condition, respectively, to a total of 15 accuracy-oriented and 15 fluency­oriented subjects identified by the pretest. The speech samples produced by the three tests were audio taped and rated for accuracy and fluency. Three experienced non-native speaking English teachers rated the subjects for accuracy, using a five-point holistic scale, while three experienced native speaking English teachers rated them for fluency, using a five-point holistic scale. The two posttests were followed by five-minute interviews in which the subjects recalled how they used the planning time they were given to prepare for the given task.

The accuracy and fluency score data produced by the pretest and posttests were analyzed descriptively and inferentially. The results of the statistical analysis revealed that under a one-minute and a three-minute planning condition, the accuracy of accuracy­oriented learners decreased, though not with statistical significance. Meanwhile, their fluency improved under the same planning conditions. Furthermore, under the three­minute planning condition, the fluency of these learners was significantly greater than their fluency when they were given no planning time. Given a one-minute and a three-minute planning time, the accuracy of fluency­oriented learners increased, though the differences were not statistically significant. However, a significant difference was found for fluency under the one-minute planning condition, indicating a decline in fluency. On the other hand, under a three-minute planning condition, the fluency of these learners went back almost to its original level. The findings of the present study indicate that planning time could be one way of helping accuracy-oriented and fluency-oriented learners to divide up their attention resources more evenly between accuracy and fluency. However, it is essential to determine more specifically the length of planning time that would accomplish that goal. The research findings are compared to those of previous research and their implications for teaching are discussed. The limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also included.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Yehia El Ezabi

Committee Member 1

Yehia El Ezabi

Committee Member 2

Georgette Ioup

Committee Member 3

Russanne Hozayin

Document Type



103 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

English language


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Call Number

Thesis 2002/31