HOW DOES ENGLISH LANGUAGE AFFECT TO THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF A SPANISH STUDENT IN THE SUBJECT OF PHYSICS?
Universidade da Coruña (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:In this context, the University of A Coruña offers several multilingual degrees as many Spanish universities do. Specifically, in the Faculty of Science the degree in Biology can be studied in the official languages (Spanish and Galician) and in English. Among the subjects offered in English is Physics, which is a first-year subject. The students of Physics are divided into nine small groups, one of which is the English-taught group. This group is composed of approximately a dozen students, most of them domestic students. As said, it seems unquestionable the multitude of advantages of studying at an internationalised university, however on this occasion we wish to explore a different side of this phenomenon. The aim of this work is to examine whether studying the subject of Physics in a non-native language is a serious handicap for the student. Therefore, in this communication a comparative study of the academic performance in the subject of Physics between the group formed by domestic students enrolled in the English-taught degree in Biology and the group of students who have preferred to study in their own language is presented. For this purpose, the average grades obtained by students of both groups who passed the subject throughout the four academic years of implementation of the multilingual degree have been computed and compared.
Taking into account that the learning aims, contents, planning, methodologies and assessments were the same, the overall comparison carried out indicates that the grades obtained by both groups do not present significant differences. Thus, using a 10-point grading scale, the average grades computed were 6.6 (English-taught group) and 6.5 (Spanish-taught group). However, the percentage of students who passed the subject has turned out to be significantly different in both groups, being 79% and 54% respectively.
In conclusion, the results obtained in this comparative study seem to indicate that for Spanish students of the University of A Coruña: a) studying Physics in a foreign language does not represent an important handicap and b) the domestic students who enrol in the English-taught degree in Biology are students with better academic performance than the average.
Keywords: Physics teaching, foreign language, academic performance.