International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Examining the Impact of Text Variables on EFL Test-Takers’ Reading Performance: The Case of the English National Exams in Greece
Dr Trisevgeni Liontou

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect specific text variables have on the reading comprehension performance of EFL test-takers sitting for the Greek State Certificate of English Language Proficiency national exams. The within two levels (Intermediate-B2/Advanced-C1) analysis regarding mean reading performance and textual features present in pertinent exam texts was carried out by estimating the mean task scores per text and per examination period of a total number of 152,039 B2 and 36,517 C1 test-takers that had participated in authentic English language exams over a period of 8 years (2003-2011). From the set of 135 text variables explored in the present research with regard to 34 intermediate and 29 advanced texts, four B2 text characteristics, i.e. proportion of past tenses, frequency of words occurring in the 5thband of the BNC corpus, proportion of verbs in future tenses and words expressing agreement, and fiveC1 text features, i.e. syntactic structure similarity across adjacent sentences and across all sentences, percentage of word units describing affective processes, relativity concerning space, time and motion as a whole and space as a specific subcategory, were found to significantly correlate with mean reading exam scores. The findings of the study provide practical guidance to EFL teachers, material developers and test designers as to the kind of lexico grammatical features learners need to become acquainted with before sitting for a specific exam and suggestions to consider when designing EFL classroom curricula, language skills textbooks and exam papers.

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