English medium of instruction in science learning : A path analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number102867
Journal / PublicationSystem
Online published20 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


As a result of the global boom in English-medium instruction (EMI) education, an increasing number of content subjects are now taught in English. Though many variables have been identified as important predictors of academic success in the EMI context, the relationships between them are still poorly understood. Drawing on survey data collected from 356 students studying at eight English-medium secondary schools in Hong Kong, we developed a model to describe the structural relationships between L2 students' English proficiency, their use of language in the science classroom, their self-perceived difficulty in using English in the science classroom, their science learning self-concept, and their science achievement. The path analysis revealed strong connections between the variables, indicating that L2 students' self-perceptions and their English competence play important roles in their acquisition of scientific knowledge. Although L2 students' English proficiency was identified as a strongest predictor of science achievement, negative perceptions of EMI caused by lack of English competence to some extent also facilitate students’ academic outcome in science. In terms of pedagogical implication, mixed-language instruction appeared to be more beneficial than pure English-medium instruction when teaching science subjects.

Research Area(s)

  • Classroom interaction, English proficiency, English-medium instruction, Science achievement, Secondary school, Self-perception