The Impact of IQ Level and Socio-Economic Background in Improving English Speaking Skills of University Undergraduates

M. H. P. K. Gunasena


This study focuses on the development of speaking skills in English ofuniversity undergraduates with specific reference to the impact of two socialpsychological barriers. In relation to social barriers, the emphasis is on the socioeconomicbackground of the undergraduates. Then in relation to psychological barriers,the study deals with the level of IQ of an individual.

The subjects of this study are the first year undergraduates of Buddhist and PaliUniversity of Sri Lanka, with the majority of students being Buddhist monks.

Objectives of this study are: to identify the speaking difficulties of universityundergraduates, to develop possible remedial measures for the identified speakingdifficulties, to provide them with a better teaching/learning environment that addressestheir specific needs.

A representative sample of approximately 75 students was selected based onrandom choice and a questionnaire was administered on them in order to examine theirsocio-economic background. The students‟ level of IQ was tested using a standard IQtest to determine their level of IQ. A variety of speaking tests were held to discover thestudents‟ speaking proficiency in English. At the end of the study the findings of thequestionnaire, the scores of the IQ and the marks of the speaking tests were correlated toinvestigate the relationship among the socio-economic background, the level of IQ andspeaking skills.

Except in a few rare instances, in most of the cases there was a significantcorrelation among the three factors observed in the study.

Key words: IQ, Social barriers, Psychological barriers, Speaking skills


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