Progress in English academic vocabulary use in writing among CLIL and non-CLIL students in Sweden

Eva Olsson


One of the purposes of instruction based on content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is in many cases to prepare students for higher education, but few studies have investigated the effect of CLIL on academic language. In this study, progress in English academic vocabulary use among CLIL (N=146) and non-CLIL (N=84) students in Swedish upper secondary school is compared. Two different academic wordlists, the AWL (Coxhead 2000) and the AVL (Gardner and Davies 2014), were used for the analysis of academic vocabulary in four writing assignments over three years. The results indicate that CLIL students use academic vocabulary to a greater extent already when they begin CLIL education but their use of academic vocabulary does not progress more than among non-CLIL students. The results also indicate that for the purpose of examining progress in academic vocabulary use, the AVL seems to be a more useful standard of reference than the AWL; its higher coverage allows for more detailed descriptions of progress. Only the development indicated by the AVL was supported by other findings.


CLIL; academic vocabulary; writing

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