Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Van E. Cooley

Second Advisor

Dr. Julie A. Stoffels

Third Advisor

Dr. H. Byron Earhart


Japanese students of English need to develop their proficiencies not only in oral aspects but in overall practical language aspects. English programs from junior high school to college levels need to be improved in consideration of current needs of students.

This study was conducted to assess college students’ perceived need for changes in the English curricula enhancing communicative competence and to seek their perceived levels of proficiency at graduation in the four skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in relationship with students’ majors, academic experience in English-speaking countries, and lengths of such experience.

The research was conducted in Tokyo and its vicinity in June 1998. The research instrument was tested through two stages in April and May 1998: (1) five reviewers, and (2) a field test with 101 participants with English and non-English majors of two randomly chosen colleges in the research site.

One 2-year and five 4-year colleges in the site were randomly selected for the main research. Four hundred and fifty-three English and non-English majors participated in the research in June 1998.

The average need levels were all high in the four language skill areas, ranging from 3.21 to 4.16, all beyond 3.0 on a 5-point scale. The projected proficiency levels were, on the other hand, lower than 3.0, ranging from 2.61 to 2.79.

There were differences in need levels for communicative English and in projected proficiency levels in relationship with the participants’ majors, academic experience in English-speaking countries, and length of such experience.

Non-English majors had higher needs in the two oral skills (listening and speaking) and English majors had higher needs in reading. English majors had higher levels of projected proficiency in the two oral skills.

The participants with longer academic experience in English-speaking countries had higher need and projected proficiency levels in the four English skills.

A live language and culture environment enhanced the needs and proficiency levels. Students exposed to such environment for a longer period of time had higher need and proficiency levels in all four skills.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access