The aim of this study is to examine different reaction times in several kinds of tests among International Baccalaureate students (IB), and Naturvetenskap students (NV) in the Swedish Upper Secondary School. The tests concerned lexical decision, collocation recognition, and grammaticality judgements. Two research questions guided this study:
- Do students who receive their education in English (IB) achieve higher scores on tests of word recognition (lexical decision), collocation recognition and grammaticality judgements when compared to those who receive their education in Swedish?
- Do students who begin learning English before the age of seven achieve higher scores on these tests than those who starting learning English after the age of seven?
Both accuracy and response times were measured and an efficiency coefficient is calculated as accuracy divided by response time. In addition to the test data, a background questionnaire was filled out by all the participants and elicited information concerning their L1 and age of starting to learn English.
The results for these tests indicate that IB students score significantly higher in efficiency than the NV students. One explanation may be that the IB students have daily exposure to English throughout their three years of study, whereas NV students only study English during the first two years of Upper Secondary School with an option to continue a third year after.
Within the NV class an analysis of the results between those who were taught English before the age of seven and those who were taught after the age of seven showed a noticeable, but not significant, difference.
2009. , 21 p.