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Göteborgs universitets publikationer

Academic vocabulary in low and high stakes essays by CLIL and non-CLIL students at upper secondary level

Författare och institution:
Liss Kerstin Sylvén (Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik); Eva Olsson (Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik)
Publicerad i:
LUNAS, Language Use in Nordic Settings, Copenhagen University, May 9-11, 2016,
Konferensbidrag - refereegranskat abstract
Sammanfattning (abstract):
In this presentation, focus is on the use of academic vocabulary among CLIL and non-CLIL students at upper secondary level in Sweden. Research informs us that CLIL, in many cases, is beneficial for the development of the second or foreign language (L2) being used as the medium of instruction (most commonly English) in non-language subjects (e.g., Dalton-Puffer, Nikula, & Smit, 2010; Ruiz de Zarobe, 2010). However, gains are above all found in reading and listening, i.e. so-called receptive skills, and not so much in speaking and writing, the productive skills, which is in line with earlier findings in immersion contexts (Swain & Lapkin, 1982). Moreover, it seems as though the potential inherent in CLIL is not fully utilized as regards academic, school-related language skills (e.g., Dalton-Puffer, 2011; Meyer, Coyle, Halbach, Schuck, & Ting, 2015). CLIL and non-CLIL education was investigated from a number of perspectives during the large-scale research project [name removed for the reviewing process] (for more information, see Author/s, xxxx). During their three years at upper secondary level, CLIL and non-CLIL students (N = 249) at three different schools were followed. All students were enrolled in theoretical strands, aiming for higher education where demands on academic language are high. Therefore, one of the aspects investigated was the use of academic vocabulary in students’ English writing. In order to capture this, students were asked to write a total of four essays during the three-year research period, in addition to their regular school work. These essays have been analyzed using the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) and the Academic Vocabulary List (Gardner & Davies, 2014), and the results show that CLIL students use more academic words in all four essays, i.e., their proficiency in academic language was higher already at the start of CLIL (Author/s, xxxx). As these essays were primarily written for the sake of the research project, it is of great interest to investigate whether or not results are similar when analyzing essays written for high stakes tests. Therefore, CLIL and non-CLIL student texts (N = 55), from one of the schools, written for the national test in English are analyzed with the same methods as used for the texts written for the research project. These students’ high stakes essays will be compared with their low stakes texts written at approximately the same time, thereby allowing close and relevant comparisons. A larger amount of academic words does not necessarily entail better quality essays. Therefore, the texts have been holistically evaluated in order to investigate the extent to which the use of academic vocabulary influences the overall quality of a text. Furthermore, the scores awarded the high stakes tests are used as a factor with which correlation analyses with the number of academic words in the texts are calculated. The primary aim of the presentation is thus to shed light on the use of academic vocabulary among upper secondary students in CLIL and non-CLIL contexts. A second aim is to delve into possible differences in the use of academic vocabulary in texts depending on whether they are written for low or high stakes purposes. A third aim is to investigate the possible impact of using academic vocabulary has on the overall quality of texts. All results are presented from first, the dichotomy of CLIL vs non-CLIL students, highlighting possible differences between the two groups; second, the gender divide, allowing insights into the role of gender in academic vocabulary proficiency
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Utbildningsvetenskap ->
Språk och litteratur ->
Språkstudier ->
Övriga germanska språk ->
Engelska språket
Academic vocabulary; L2 writing; CLIL
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2016-09-06 11:36

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