Academic Vocabulary Proficiency and Reading Comprehension Among Icelandic Secondary School Students
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This chapter presents the findings of a comprehensive study on English academic vocabulary proficiency and its role in reading comprehension among secondary school students in Iceland, ranging in age from 18 to 20 (Secondary school in Iceland is 3 years from age 16–19. At the time of this study, secondary education was 4 years from age 16–20). The data is based on two surveys, a test on academic vocabulary proficiency administered in six upper-secondary schools across the country (N = 249), and a reading comprehension test of academic texts administered in three secondary schools (N = 168). The reading comprehension test also included the same receptive vocabulary task as the one used in the previous study, substantially extending the sample size for this task (N = 249 + 168 = 417). The results show that, on average, academic reading proficiency among Icelandic students nearing completion of their secondary education barely meets the minimum requirements for University admission as measured by the IELTS standards. Moreover, knowledge of academic vocabulary, particularly productive knowledge, was found to be inadequate for university level reading. A strong positive correlation was found between receptive academic vocabulary knowledge and academic reading comprehension.
KeywordsReading Comprehension International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Icelandic Students Vocabulary Knowledge Academic Texts
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