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An analysis of the linguistic elements of the text in the English reading section of the College Scholastic Ability Test. Modern English Education

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2017, 18(1), pp.193-211
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching
  • Published : February 28, 2017

문지현 1 Haedong Kim 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to investigate changes of the text-difficulty in the English reading section of the College Scholastic Ability Tests (CSATs) in Korea. Texts from the 1994 to 2016 CSATs, were analyzed by Coh-Metrix, a linguistic computational program. The results of the readability indices, obtained by Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, indicated that the difficulty of the text in the CSATs has not been maintained. The following linguistic elements have increased: the mean number of syllables in words, the mean number of letters in words, the number of sentences, the mean number of words in each sentence, the syntactic complexity and the average number of sentences in each paragraph. Two previous CSATs, from 2001 and 2013, were experimented on 79 high school students. The results showed that the 2013 CSAT was more difficult than the 2001 CSAT. Based on the results from the analysis and the experiment, it was concluded that the text in the English reading section of CSAT has gradually become difficult. We suggest that linguistic analysis should be used as a tool for estimating the level of text-difficulty in the English reading section when professionals write test-items for the CSAT.

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