If students enroll in a university course taught in English rather than in their mother tongue, their performance clearly declines. They are also more likely to drop out of such courses compared to those taught in their mother tongue. This is the conclusion reached by experts led by Ole Balter from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, as well as the research group. In the specialized journal “Review of Applied Linguistics” He writes.
With the help of English language teaching, also known as English media education, students should be able to expand their English skills and be better prepared for the professional world. Therefore, Balter and his colleagues wanted to know how a course taught in English affected participants’ academic performance.
For their study, the experts provided an introductory programming course designed as a self-taught webinar. A total of 2263 Swedish students were enrolled and randomly assigned to the English or Swedish language version of the course. Participants must be able to demonstrate a language level of at least B1 in both Swedish and English.
The working group measured how well students performed based on exam results and dropout rate. Result: On average, participants in the Swedish language course answered 73% of the questions correctly. The number of students who dropped out of the English course is also much larger than the number of students who dropped out of the course with similar content in Swedish: of the 1,129 participants, 799 gave up – 71 percent – while in the Swedish version 649 of the 1,134 dropped out – 57 percent. The probability of dropping out of an English course early was 25 percent higher than its native language counterpart. Balter and his team came to a similar result when they differentiated the groups according to their language level from B1 to C2. It appears that better language skills did not improve the learning effect.
The researchers stress that one study is not a reason to radically change the language of instruction in universities. Before that, the results had to be confirmed through further research.
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