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Public Policy and Administration


Marcel I. Kitissou


Developing the ability to understand one's adversary is a critical task for any professional in the military. In the army, this understanding is partially realized through a second language capability. This study involved quantifying results from different sites and methods of second language training for army linguists, using proficiency scores measured by the Defense Language Proficiency Test to determine if quantitative differences between methods of instruction existed. The hypothesis that trainees at Site 1 achieved significantly higher proficiency levels than trainees at Site 2 was used as the primary building block for this research. The objective of this study was to aid leaders in the linguist community in making evidence-based policy decisions. Social representation theory was used as the theoretical framework for understanding the norms and beliefs formed by the subgroups of linguists within the target population who were beneficiaries of the different methods of second language training. Secondary data were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the major army command used as the target population for the study. The study found no significant difference between the language training sites as measured by the posttraining Defense Language Proficiency Test. Further study recommendations consist of investigating qualitative aspects of second language training. The primary social change impact of this research for the army linguist community may reside in the study's promotion of the best use of resources. To fulfill the national security role presented to the army, the most effective and efficient methods of second language training must be used.

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