Setting EFL Reading Comprehension Questions in Learners L1?

| June 28, 2007
Setting EFL Reading Comprehension Questions in Learners L1?

Keywords: Assessing reading, language of the questions, L1 and L2

Zheng Lin
School of Education, University of South Australia

Bio Data
Dr Zheng Lin is a senior lecturer of TESOL at the School of Education, University of South Australia. He is interested in ESL/EFL education theories. He has an MPhil in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading, UK and a PhD in Education from the University of Ballarat.

This paper tries to address the question Will it make a difference if reading comprehension questions are set in learners L1 instead of English (L2)? Past studies addressing this issue have produced contradictory findings. Through a cross-sectional investigation of 3,426 middle school EFL students performance in English reading comprehension tests, this study shows that setting questions in learners L1 or L2 will make no significant difference in learners reading comprehension testing results if their competences in L1 and L2 are both sufficient for the task. However, if their competence in L2 is inadequate while their competence in L1 is not, they tend to perform better if the questions are set in L1. The author suggests that EFL reading comprehension tests, especially those for beginning learner, set the questions in learners L1 whenever feasible.

See pages 151-169

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 9 Issue 1