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Examining Lexical Coverage and Readability of Ninth-Grade English Textbooks and The CAP Exams in Taiwan: A Corpus-Based Study

Chia-mei Li
National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan


In Taiwan, reading English textbooks is a major way for students to expand their English knowledge repertoires. Taiwanese students require the cultivation of reading competencies to handle high-stake exams, and the need should be fulfilled through textbooks. Therefore, it is important to understand whether the readability of the texts students read in school matches that of the high-stakes exams they are to take. The present study is to investigate the readability between high-stake exams and ninth-grade English textbooks used in Taiwan’s junior high schools. In this corpus-based study, two corpora will be examined. One corpus includes the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students (CAP) exams in the four years (from 2019 to 2022). The other consists of ninth-grade English textbooks from different publishers. AntWordProfiler is used to analyze the lexical coverage, and Coh-Metrix is used to evaluate the readability of the two corpora. After generating the analyses, lexical coverage is presented descriptively and ANOVA is conducted to determine whether there is a significant difference in readability between the CAP exams and the textbooks. The results will indicate how effectively the ninth-grade textbooks prepare students to cope with reading in the CAP exams. Pedagogical implications discussed will shed light on developing students' English reading competencies and editing exams or textbooks.


English reading competencies, lexical coverage, readability, the CAP exam, textbook analysis

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023