Reclassifying the SILL: Validation Using Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Su-ching Wu, Shan-mao Chang


For decades, the Strategy Inventory of Language Learning (SILL) has been extensively used in the previous studies on foreign/second language (L2) learners’ learning strategies, which have yielded a substantial amount of empirical findings in the field of L2. The conventional classification of the SILL questionnaire, however, has not gone without challenges, especially given the tremendous diversity of the EFL context. In this study, we revisited the SILL and reclassified the language learning strategies in this popular questionnaire. The data were collected in an EFL context in which a total of 282 Taiwanese senior high school students filled out the SILL questionnaire. Validity was the paramount concern during reclassifying and was demonstrated via exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmation factor analysis (CFA). EFA was first used to extract factors from the SILL, which helps to conceptualize the new classification. CFA was then performed to confirm the exploratory model. At the end of the study, the SILL was reclassified into the 6 dimensions which were labeled as: 1) Social Strategies, 2) Metacognitive Strategies (Type I), 3) Metacognitive Strategies (Type II), 4) Affective Strategies, 5) Cognitive Strategies and 6) Memory Strategies.

Keywords: Language learning strategy, the Strategy Inventory of Language Learning, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis

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