A Text Difficulty Analysis of English Textbooks for Senior High School and the College Scholastic Ability Test in South Korea Using Coh-Metrix

    Hyun-Young Lee ,Mun-Koo Kang
    Keywords: text difficulty, English textbooks, CSAT, Coh-Metrix ,

    Abstract

    Abstract
    This study aimed to examine the text difficulty of English textbooks for senior high school and the English
    reading section of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) in South Korea. By analyzing the degree of
    their text difficulty, this study attempted to predict how effectively public education can prepare for the
    CSAT. Five types of high school English reading and writing textbooks representing the new 2015
    curriculum, as well as reading passages from the 2019-2020 CSAT English section, were chosen to create
    a corpus. The text difficulty was compared with linguistic features measured from Coh-Metrix, a
    computational language analysis tool on: descriptive indices, word information, lexical diversity, syntactic
    complexity, standard readability, and cohesion. An independent sample t-test is employed to determine
    whether there are any statistically significant differences in terms of linguistic aspects between the
    textbooks and the CSAT. In conclusion, except for the syntactic complexity and semantic cohesion,
    textbooks and the CSAT indicate statistically significant differences in 10 of the 13 Coh-Metrix
    measurements: the number of syllables in words, the mean number of words in sentences, age of
    acquisition, word frequency, concreteness, imaginability, type-token ratio, Flesch Reading Ease, FleschKincaid Grade Level, and co-referential cohesion. This finding implies that students who follow the school
    curriculum and rely on textbooks would have difficulty achieving their CSAT goals. A balance between
    the difficulty of textbooks and the CSAT should be established to accomplish the CSAT's purpose of
    normalizing public education and relieving the strain of excessive learning

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