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High Ielts score beats ability in quest for academic results

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Pre-sessional courses don’t boost academic results for weaker test performers, study finds

Why do international students do worse than their native-speaker counterparts academically?

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency have shown that they gain proportionately fewer first and upper second-class degrees than UK home students.

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Weird word order bends Basque brains

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Spanish L1 speakers who are bilingual in Basque process atypical word order sentences better in Basque (Euskera) than natives do, a study suggests. The researchers conclude that the Spanish-speakers were able to rely on the syntactic features on their mother tongue to help them.

The most common word order in Spanish is subject verb object (SVO). Basque typically uses SOV. The sample was made up of thirty-five Spanish-speakers, all of whom started learning Basque before the age of five, and 35 Basque mother-tongue speakers.

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Norwegian gamers master English better than mother tongue

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Teenage gamers perform markedly better in tests of L2 English reading compared to reading tests in their mother tongue, a Norwegian study suggests.

A total of 463 16-year-olds from Oslo public schools scored in or above the 60th percentile in their L2 English reading tests, but were only in the 20th percentile on their L1 reading exam.

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Interview: ‘Regard it like an MOT test’

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School inspections needn’t be scary, Ann Matsunaga tells Melanie Butler

Ann Matsunaga has had nearly every job in ELT, not to mention her time in mainstream education. She has been a teacher, teacher trainer and even opened her own language school in Japan when her Japanese husband was deployed back home by his company.

‘It was only a small school,’ she says, ‘but I built up a good reputation.’

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Comment: Performance pay or the highway?

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Should language schools pay more money to their best teachers, and should student feedback be the deciding factor, asks Melanie Butler.

Personally I have always thought relating pay to performance was piffle.

When I was a book publisher, I was promised a bonus based on the number of books I published and their sales.

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