Testing foreign language impact on engineering students’ scientific problem-solving performance

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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

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Última Atualiz.: 01-11-2018 14:53

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This article investigates the influence of English as the examination language on the solution of physics and
science problems by non-native speakers in tertiary engineering education. For that purpose, a statistically
significant total number of 96 students in four year groups from freshman to senior level participated in
a testing experiment in the Degree Programme of Aviation at the FH JOANNEUM University of Applied
Sciences, Graz, Austria. Half of each test group were given a set of 12 physics problems described in
German, the other half received the same set of problems described in English. It was the goal to test
linguistic reading comprehension necessary for scientific problem solving instead of physics knowledge
as such. The results imply that written undergraduate English-medium engineering tests and examinations
may not require additional examination time or language-specific aids for students who have reached
university-entrance proficiency in English as a foreign language.

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