Who is running this project?

This project is being run by PhD student Beverley Jennings and is supervised by Dr Holly Joseph and Dr Daisy Powell, Institute of Education.

What is this project about?

This PhD research project focuses on the reading comprehension demands of the English language GCSE exams taken by all school students in England at the end of their secondary education (age 16). We know that a crucial predictor of successful reading comprehension is reading experience and to understand the vocabulary in the exam texts students will have needed to have encountered the vocabulary before in a variety of different contexts. The aims of this project are therefore: 1) to identify what kind of vocabulary is typical of the exam texts and in what genres of texts it is most likely to be found and 2) assess adolescent students’ current reading practices to see how far they provide adequate exposure to the types of vocabulary found in the exams. Corpus linguistics will be used to analyse the exam texts and identify genres. A large online survey will be used to collect data about adolescent students’ reading practices.