Increasing numbers of international students enter university education via English language bridging programs. Despite this, research has focused on the development of literacy skills of international students who meet the language requirement for undergraduate admission, neglecting the reading development of bridging program students.
in collaboration with Dr. Anna Moro and Sadaf Rahmanian, we report a longitudinal eye movement study assessing English passage reading efficiency and comprehension in a sample of 401 Chinese-speaking bridging program students. Students were assigned to reading ability groups based on incoming scores of the IELTS reading subtest.
We found that in terms of eye-movement measures of reading fluency and reading comprehension, the different reading ability groups (a) had significantly different starting points, and (b) followed parallel growth trajectories from the beginning to the end of the bridging program. Thus, although there was significant progress over time, there was no evidence that the gap between low and high ability readers either closed or widened over time.