Why did you choose those readings? A case study in text selection for first year university students
Neill, L; Kirkness, A; Gossman, P; Neill, L; Kirkness, A; Gossman, P
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This paper evaluates the reading and vocabulary demands in five texts used in a first-year undergraduate paper in hospitality management at a multicultural university in New Zealand. There were two research perspectives: the students and the teaching materials. The student perspective investigated the length of time that students have studied in English language environments and their English-language reading abilities; and how this may impact on a student's evaluation of selected texts and student reading time. The second perspective evaluated vocabulary frequency using an electronic vocabulary tool, the Vocabprofile. The two sets of data were then compared. The results revealed that self-assessed reading ability in English related to student first language abilities, and demonstrated that the Vocabprofile can benefit text selection (Laufer & Nation, 1995;; Meara, 1993; Meara & Fitzpatrick 2000;; Meara, Lightbrown, & Halter, 1997) as well as provide a knowledge base for lecturers scaffolding reading materials. As student vocabulary skills and reading comprehension levels impact on subsequent academic success (Scarcella & Zimmerman, 1998), the comprehensive results of this research will find ready application within the social sciences and more qualitatively focussed domains of student study.