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Exploration Of Students' English Proficiency Required For Sino-Foreign Jointly-Sponsored Programs

Posted on:2009-03-01Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:J X HanFull Text:PDF
GTID:1115360305956351Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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Recent economic events in China have heightened the awareness of the needs of a large contingent of professionals with a good command of English. English-Chinese bilingual instruction at the university level (BIUL) has grown like mushrooms in the wake of the directive document by the Ministry of Education in 2001. In this regard, mention should be made of a special type of bilingual instruction programs, that is, programs sponsored jointly by Chinese and English-speaking western universities, which, partly or totally, feature the adoption of the teaching syllabus, textbooks, evaluation systems of the western partner universities. However, systematic research on such programs is lacking. This dissertation is designed to explore the students'target language proficiency required for such bilingual programs, and the relationship between the prior target language proficiency and the academic achievements.A quasi-experimental study has been conducted for this purpose. A hundred and thirty-seven students in one BIUL program, which is jointly sponsored by a Chinese university, located in Shanghai and a US university, have been selected as the treatment group while another 137 students who study at the same university and receive academic instruction in Chinese have been selected as the control group. No significant differences have been found between the two groups in terms of academic achievements and English proficiency level before the experiment.A between-group and a within-group study have been conducted. The former compares the academic achievements and language proficiency gains between the two groups with a view to investigating whether Jim Cummins'Interdependence Hypothesis works in the Chinese context or not. The latter is aimed mainly at exploring the threshold level of the target language for the jointly-sponsored BIUL. Data were collected between 2006 and 2007 academic year by using various instruments. CET4 and the mathematics test are used to make comparisons between the two groups in terms of improved language proficiency and academic gains. For the within-group comparison, various tests on the content courses are used to track down the three subgroups'performance in the academic learning; the pre- and post-EPT test developed by the Second Language Institute of the University of Ottawa and the self-assessment questionnaire are used to compare the English proficiency gains before and after the experiment. In addition, six subjects from the three subgroups are selected for case study: they were interviewed, asked to keep diaries and respond to the self-report survey in order for the researcher to supplement the findings from the quantitative study.A variety of analytical procedures including analysis of variance (ANOVA), General Linear Model-Repeated Measures (GLM-Repeated Measures) as well as descriptive analysis and t test are used to analyze the data. Four major findings are presented.Finding 1: The Interdependence Hypothesis works in the Chinese jointly-sponsored BIUL since jointly-sponsored bilingual programs and regular programs are similar in effectiveness in terms of the students'academic learning as exemplified in their mathematics course.This finding is obtained through comparing mathematics test results between the treatment group and the control group. The result shows that the treatment group learns mathematics at a rate similar to that of the control group. Independent-samples t test analysis and the two-way ANOVA analysis are employed as the major instruments of analysis. The t test analysis demonstrates no significant differences between the two groups at p<.05 level (p=.073), and the two-way ANOVA indicates no statistical significance in terms of three"paired"subgroups (TL versus CL, TM versus CM, and TH versus CH), F (2, 268) =2.044, p=.132.Finding 2: The cut-off score (50 points on the EPT test developed by the University of Ottawa) for the sheltered courses offered by that university is a valid indicator of the target language proficiency required for jointly-sponsored BIUL since those students who have attained 50 points or more in the EPT have passed all the tests in various content courses in the joint-sponsored program in question.This finding is supported by the within-group study and as well as by the analysis of the case study. The within-group study indicates that the means in EPT for all the three subgroups (TL, TM, and TH) are above 50 points, and have passed the academic courses offered in the first academic year. The analysis of the case study reveals that the two subjects who have not reached the cut-off score of 50 points suffer the negative effects from the courses in terms of reduced confidence, failing the exam, and so on.Finding 3: Jointly-sponsored BIUL exerts differential influence on the academic achievements of the students with different levels of prior L2 proficiency.This finding is based on comparisons of the academic achievements among the three subgroups that enroll in the jointly-sponsored program. The results indicate that though all the three subgroups pass the academic courses, there are significant differences evidenced by the comparisons among the three subgroups in all the content courses except the one in general physics. Significant differences usually arise between the TL and TM subgroups, and TL and TH subgroups, and no statistical differences occur between the TM and TH subgroups. Finding 4: All the students in the jointly-sponsored BIUL, despite different levels of prior L2 proficiency, have improved English proficiency.This finding is based on the comparisons of CET4 scores between the control group and the treatment group and the pre- and post-EPT test scores and self-assessment among the three subgroups for the within-group study. The treatment group scores significantly higher than the control group in CET4 although the former took CET4 half a year earlier than the latter. In addition, all the three subgroups within the treatment group have obtained significant gains in English proficiency, as evidenced by the comparisons of pre-and post-gains in EPT proficiency, and the self-assessment questionnaire.In conclusion, this study has yielded encouraging findings on the effectiveness of bilingual instruction in Chinese universities, and this study provides a starting point for the analysis of teaching methodology in jointly-sponsored BIUL, as well as a direction for future research on bilingual immersion programs or the mixed model. However, due to the limitations, it is recommended that considerable research be still needed to elucidate the program's effectiveness.
Keywords/Search Tags:jointly-sponsored BIUL, between-group comparisons, within-group comparisons, academic gains, prior English proficiency, improved language proficiency
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