The Ability of Taiwanese College Freshmen to Read and Interpret Graphics in English

| March 21, 2011
Title
The Ability of Taiwanese College Freshmen to Read and Interpret Graphics in English

Keywords: EFL Graphic Literacy; Graphic Literacy Assessment; Content Area Reading; Text Aids

Authors
Tzung-yu Cheng
China Medical University

Bio Data
Tzung-yu Cheng is an associate professor at China Medical University in Taiwan where he teaches courses in critical reading and academic reading. His current research interest includes content area reading, reading assessment, and sociology of language learning and teaching.

Abstract
This study is intended to assess the ability of Taiwanese college freshmen to read and understand English graphics, and at the same time evaluate the quality of English text-usage training dispensed in the high schools in Taiwan. The subjects, 211 freshmen, were drawn from a medical university in central Taiwan. They represented a group of above average students among the Taiwanese college freshmen majoring in sciences and engineering. The research instrument was the criterion-referenced graphics test, GASS. The data show that the pass rate is 13.27%. The survey of reading difficulty and the t-test, t (177) = 5.933, p<.001, suggest that in reading graphics, the ability to read English itself is a major cause of difficulty. The study concludes with suggestions for further studies and various recommendations for improving the teaching and learning of graphics in both high school and freshman college English classes.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 13 Issue 1