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Reading against all odds: creative coping strategies of international students in HE

Vicary, A. and Treffers-Daller, J. ORCID: (2024) Reading against all odds: creative coping strategies of international students in HE. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. ISSN 1367-0050 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2024.2345698


Many overseas students in Higher Education in the UK struggle to understand the compulsory texts for their course, and obtain lower scores for their modules than their monolingual peers. While the existence of this achievement gap is well established in the literature, little is known about the ways in which overseas students in HE with limited English language and literacy skills meet the challenges posed by the compulsory reading on their course. The current study is novel because we focus on a postgraduate Law module and use a mixed methods approach to studying the relationship between students’ language and literacy profiles and their academic achievement. The results show that students’ vocabulary sizes did not provide enough lexical coverage for them to understand the set texts and that the language and literacy profiles of our students did not correlate with their module scores. In-depth interviews revealed that students with IELTS scores of 6.0 or lower used ‘creative reading’ strategies such as machine translation, to pass assignments, while staff used ‘compassionate marking’ strategies in the case of struggling writers, which means module scores for some students were likely inflated. Implications for admissions tutors and teachers in HE are formulated at the end.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:116129
Uncontrolled Keywords:academic achievement, vocabulary size, reading comprehension, Law, IELTS, assessment

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