A study of reading questions in high school English textbooks and national tests

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Assumption University Press
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25 pages
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The New English Teacher 11.1 (January 2017), 44-68
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The lack of English language proficiency of Thai students has been acknowledged for years, and this is reflected in the national test scores i.e. O-NET, GAT, and GET, all of which fall below 50%. The question of concurrence between testing and teaching was raised when the revision of national curriculum (B.E. 2551) was implemented in prototype schools in 2009. Reading comprehension skills, in particular, were given attention as it contributes to other skills and overall learning. The aim of this study is to seek the connection between reading questions in the tests and textbooks in Thai schools. For this purpose, Barrett’s taxonomy (Pearson, 2009) was adapted. The findings indicate that Inferential Comprehension is dominant in the tests, but Literal Comprehension is dominant in the textbooks. However, there is a partial agreement between the tests and textbooks in terms of high-order questions such as Inferential Comprehension, Evaluation, and Appreciation. The findings imply that the design of tests and textbooks should be reviewed to reflect the effectiveness of the curriculum and learning, which will possibly improve test scores in the national tests. Textbooks are the most reliable source of learning English for non-native English speakers. Therefore, they are widely used by schools. Nowadays, there are plenty of commercial English textbooks that are produced for English language education worldwide. However, it is generally agreed upon that learning a second language pedagogy is influenced by the socio-cultural frame of reference of the learners, and the objectives of learning vary from place to place according to curriculum design. Selecting a good textbook that suits the learning context and curriculum is challenging for schools. This study provides further information to people who are involved in the textbook selection of all levels of educational supervision.
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