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Assessing the Impact of the Use of English Program on the Reading Comprehension Skills of ESL Learners. Case Study: Faculty of Arts

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Qualitative research
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This research is set out to “Assess the Impact of the Use of English Program on the reading comprehension skills of ESL learners. Case Study: Faculty of Arts, University of Buea. In carrying out this research, questionnaires were administered to the faculty of Arts at the University of Buea. These students were required to identify English Program on the reading comprehension skills of ESL learners. The study revealed that most students are not used to English proficiency. The students had a pass mark on their fluency with more than 50 % of the students saying that their teachers are very fluent.




This chapter is an overview of the topic assessing the Impact of reading comprehension skills of ESL learners. We shall be looking at its historical background its purpose, objectives, significance, research questions, research hypothesis which can be brought forth. This chapter shall also include the definition of some key terms which are essential for a better understanding of the topic from this chapter, the orientation of the research work will be made easier to conduct and equally understand.

Background to the study

Reading is one of the four language skills taught in the English learning process besides listening, speaking, and writing. However, among all these language skills, reading is considered the most important skill. For people to say that they master language, they must have mastered the four basic skills. Reading is the most readily available form of comprehension input especially in places where there is hardly any contact with the target language. The only reliable way to learn a language is through massive and repeated exposure to it in context.

It is important to know reading is of great importance to the ESL learner to master as it is widely recognized Anderson(2003) stated that, the mastery of reading skills could help ESL learners achieve success not only in the English language but also in other content base classes where English reading proficiency is required. Reading has played a crucial role I the overall development of language skills and in the academic success of decades (Cochranl 993). reading skills help learners expand their


knowledge in language, culture, and the world. Learners can get more information that they need through reading different materials such as magazines, newspapers, novels, books, and journals, these strengthens reading skills. ESL learners will make greater progress and attain greater development in all academics.

Carrel (1988) observes that for ESL learners, reading is the most important of the four skills. Reading is seen as an important medium that helps learners not only to expand their vocabulary but also to improve their grammar. When learners read, they are introduced to other wider range of words and context in which the words are used. Through this, learners are exposed to a variety of writing; there is a well-established link between reading and writing. Basically, the more you read the better you write and the better you understand. Reading creates and sustains motivation to read more. It is evident that students’ vocabulary and word recognition thereby pronouncing them well. It is noted that the reading skills among ESL learners have always been an issue. Nevertheless, it is good to know that reading is of great importance to them.

Linguistic Background to the Study

According to the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon of the country, the two official languages English and French came into the Cameroon scene in 1961 when Britain and France shared Cameroon into two unequal parts after defeating German forces in the country. The new colonial masters then sought to impose their languages in the newly acquired territory both in the areas of education and administration. This led to the solid foundation of the two languages during the colonial era, a situation that was later reinforced after Cameroon became independent. At reunification in 1961, English and French became the two official languages of Cameroon as the country opted for the official languages bilingualism. The English language is a second language to the English Cameroonians who study English as a second language while French is a foreign language to English speakers as second language learners. Even though English and French may be the first languages of some Cameroonians, the fact remains that they cannot be as fluent as the native speakers of that language.

Reading as a Language Skill

In language learning, there are four skills learners need for complete communication. In the process of learning a language, we listen first, then to speak, to read, and finally to write. Among these skills, reading is the most important in acquiring a language. If language learners are good at reading, then they will be good in other language skills. Sometimes, learners face difficulty in reading due to the fact that they lack motivation and because they read only books prescribed for them in school. Therefore, they read because they want to be set for achievement routine in exams not because they want to gain pleasure. As English has become a language a global language, it is important for learners of English to read books, articles, newspapers, and other documents that will enhance their vocabulary as well as expose them to the world at large.

Statement of problem

The importance of English language reading skills has reached a new height in the context of a globalized world. In 2018, a student from the University of Buea wrote a proficiency test under the oasis of the faculty of Arts, University of Buea. Given that these students are English speaking, it is necessary to see what progress they made in terms of skill and general proficiency. It is important to ascertain the amount of progress the students made during the day of the test.

Aim of the study

The research work is aimed at assessing the progress made by students of the faculty of Arts in reading comprehension after the proficiency test. The overall purpose of this study is to carry out an evaluation of students reading skills in the use of the English language program. This research work is aimed at assessing the impact made by students of the faculty of arts in reading comprehension after the proficiency. This study seeks to describe the student’s reading skills in the English language program and if the methods used by teachers enable the students to understand the course or not.

Research Question

  1. What are the impacts of students in English language programs and their contribution to the students’ achievement in English?
  2. Are students satisfied with the roles of teachers in teaching reading comprehension in the classroom?
  3. What are the likely implications of the students’ reading skills in the English language?
  4. What are the difficulties faced by English Language Learners in reading skills?


  1. The students in this study do not differ in their perception of the English language.
  2. Arts students do not have a mastery of reading skills.
  3. The use of English program has no influence on the writing skills of students.
  4. ESL learners do not face any difficulties when it comes to reading skill.

Objectives of the study

The objectivity of this study is to;

  1. Describe the language use of the students.
  2. Describe their reading comprehension skills at the end of the proficiency test.
  3. Assess the progress made in the overall proficiency scores.
  4. Analyze the implication of the finding for English language teaching.
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