Examining and comparing English textbooks and high-stakes exams in Turkey: A Corpus-Based Study

Yu X.

Corpora and Discourse International Conference 2020, Brighton, United Kingdom, 17 - 19 June 2020, pp.71

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Brighton
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Page Numbers: pp.71
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Textbooks, as the de facto syllabi in elementary and secondary education, largely influence the

pedagogical practice in classrooms. Hence, textbook research is of considerable importance in

shaping educational constructions. Meanwhile, research in assessment, in particular

standardized examinations, has revealed substantial washback effects on both teaching and

learning. However, in the field of English language education in Turkey, few empirical studies

have been conducted to investigate the relationship between textbooks and high-stakes

standardized exams. Furthermore, no studies have been performed based on corpus data.

This ongoing research study aims to examine whether the English textbooks used in Turkish K-

12 public schools align with the high-stakes high school and university entrance exams for the

past decade. In other words, the study aims to investigate the connection between what is

supposed to be taught and what is tested. Corpus-based quantitative analysis will be conducted

to compare the textbooks and exams from vocabulary, sentence, and discourse levels.

Moreover, sociolinguistics aspects will be considered in the comparison as well. Pedagogical

implications as well as insights for curriculum revising, textbook writing, and exam designing

will be provided based on the findings of the study.

The preliminary results of this study have shown limited overlap between the high school

textbooks and the university entrance exams regarding most frequent vocabulary items,

including lexical bundles. With respect to lexical sophistication and lexical diversity, significant

differences between the textbooks and the university entrance exams have also been detected.

The lexical sophistication and diversity level of the textbooks were significantly lower than the

exams. The final research findings are expected to be concluded by May, 2020.