Needs assessment of academic reading tasks and close analysis of academic reading texts for reading difficulty and vocabulary profile
Şahbaz, Zehra Herkmen
Johnston, Susan S.
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This study explored the Academic reading requirements and text features of first-year, first-term subject area instructors in English-medium departments at Anadolu University. The study was conducted with 20 subject area instructors in English-medium departments at Anadolu University in the 2004-2005 fall term. Three sets of data were used for this study. First, interviews were conducted with 20 subject area instructors, and questionnaires were distributed in the interviews. Thirteen of the questionnaires from twenty participants were returned and used in this study. In addition, fifteen samples of required textbooks were collected from the same first-year, first-term content course teachers as well as four reading samples from the textbook in the Preparatory School. The purpose of the questionnaire administered to first-year, first-term subject area instructors was to determine instructors’ academic reading and text type requirements of first-year students. The questionnaire consisted of Likert scale items. The follow-up interviews provided insight into teachers’ perceptions, experiences and practices related to their academic reading requirements of first-year students. Reading samples from the first-year subject area courses were collected to specify the precise reading requirements of the subject area instructors and to analyze the text features in terms of knowledge structures, readability levels and vocabulary frequencies. To analyze the data, mean scores, percentages and frequencies were used in the questionnaire; a coding system was used in the interviews; Flesch-Kincaid readability test and Vocabulary Profiler (Nation & Heatley, 1994) were used for analyzing the reading samples. The results reveal that all subject area instructors agree on the necessity of being a proficient reader in order to be successful in subject area courses. Subject area instructors also agree that academic reading abilities and vocabulary knowledge of students should be supported at Preparatory School. Based on this result adjusting the current curriculum in accordance with the expectations of subject area instructors is recommended.
KeywordsEnglish for Academic Purposes (EAP)
Academic Reading Tasks