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