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English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education

Michael Daller, Huijuan Xue

Vocabulary studies in first and second language acquisition: The Interface Between Theory and Application, Volume: 1, Pages: 179 - 193

Swansea University Author: Michael Daller

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DOI (Published version): 10.1017/CBO9780511667268.011

Abstract

The number of Chinese students undertaking international education has been increasing steadily over the past decade, and this upward trend is still ongoing (Goh, 2007; TEIU, 2008). Study failure is obviously a major concern for both international students themselves and universities in host countri...

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Published in: Vocabulary studies in first and second language acquisition: The Interface Between Theory and Application
Published: Basingstoke Palgrave 2009
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa13612
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spelling 2015-06-27T15:40:05.2326827 v2 13612 2012-12-11 English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education 804fdb0f09c45a660a1ac27cc762d8fe Michael Daller Michael Daller true false 2012-12-11 APLI The number of Chinese students undertaking international education has been increasing steadily over the past decade, and this upward trend is still ongoing (Goh, 2007; TEIU, 2008). Study failure is obviously a major concern for both international students themselves and universities in host countries. Previous attempts to relate the study success of overseas students to their English language proficiency have used scores from standardized tests such as the International English Language Test System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Whilst such tests are valid tools as entry tests (Rosenfeld et al., 2004; Taylor & Falvey, 2007), they do not seem to be good predictors of academic success on their own. We therefore tried to find other measures to complement the information provided by IELTS by using data from 23 overseas students from China in the present study. Apart from their IELTS scores, we used two measures of lexical diversity (‘D’ & Guiraud) and two measures of lexical sophistication (Lexical Frequency Profile & Guiraud Advanced) based on their written essays. In addition, we employed C-tests which focus on vocabulary but also measure other aspects of foreign language proficiency (Eckes & Grotjahn, 2006). The correlations we found clearly showed that the C-tests focused on lexical sophistication rather than diversity. The present study revealed the C-test to be a powerful tool in that it allowed us to predict over one-third of the variance of the modules failed by the students during their first year in UK higher education (HE). We conclude that lexical sophistication is most closely related to overseas students’ academic success. Book chapter Vocabulary studies in first and second language acquisition: The Interface Between Theory and Application 1 179 193 Palgrave Basingstoke International students, study success, vocabulary knowledge, language testing 1 6 2009 2009-06-01 10.1017/CBO9780511667268.011 COLLEGE NANME Applied Linguistics COLLEGE CODE APLI Swansea University 2015-06-27T15:40:05.2326827 2012-12-11T09:58:19.5537771 College of Arts and Humanities English Language and Literature Michael Daller 1 Huijuan Xue 2
title English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
spellingShingle English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
Michael Daller
title_short English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
title_full English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
title_fullStr English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
title_full_unstemmed English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
title_sort English Proficiency and Academic Success: A Study of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education
author_id_str_mv 804fdb0f09c45a660a1ac27cc762d8fe
author_id_fullname_str_mv 804fdb0f09c45a660a1ac27cc762d8fe_***_Michael Daller
author Michael Daller
author2 Michael Daller
Huijuan Xue
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description The number of Chinese students undertaking international education has been increasing steadily over the past decade, and this upward trend is still ongoing (Goh, 2007; TEIU, 2008). Study failure is obviously a major concern for both international students themselves and universities in host countries. Previous attempts to relate the study success of overseas students to their English language proficiency have used scores from standardized tests such as the International English Language Test System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Whilst such tests are valid tools as entry tests (Rosenfeld et al., 2004; Taylor & Falvey, 2007), they do not seem to be good predictors of academic success on their own. We therefore tried to find other measures to complement the information provided by IELTS by using data from 23 overseas students from China in the present study. Apart from their IELTS scores, we used two measures of lexical diversity (‘D’ & Guiraud) and two measures of lexical sophistication (Lexical Frequency Profile & Guiraud Advanced) based on their written essays. In addition, we employed C-tests which focus on vocabulary but also measure other aspects of foreign language proficiency (Eckes & Grotjahn, 2006). The correlations we found clearly showed that the C-tests focused on lexical sophistication rather than diversity. The present study revealed the C-test to be a powerful tool in that it allowed us to predict over one-third of the variance of the modules failed by the students during their first year in UK higher education (HE). We conclude that lexical sophistication is most closely related to overseas students’ academic success.
published_date 2009-06-01T03:23:13Z
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