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The English Language as a Factor Influencing Foreign Students’ Learning Outcomes in Higher Education 

Karīna Svētiņa
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. English language skills are an important factor that should be assessed in the context of foreign students studying for a degree in higher education in another country. Previous research has mainly been conducted in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as these are global study destinations. The aim is to investigate whether English language skills affect foreign students’ learning outcomes in Latvia. The research question intends to find out what the English proficiency is in class, determine the English test at the time of admission, and whether the previous learning of English at the general level of education affects the learning outcomes in higher education. The research sample involves South Asian and Central Asian students. In the first stage of the study, the focus group method was used with the academic staff to find out English proficiency in class. In the second stage, interviews were conducted with representatives of higher education institutions to determine the English test at the time of admission. In the third stage, interviews were conducted with nationals of India, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan to find out the English language training of their countries of origin in general education. As a result, it can be concluded – foreign students’ use of English differs according to the school (public or private) where they have studied general education before. Lecturers and representatives of higher education institutions indicate that English is not the determining factor, but rather knowledge and understanding of the topic and content regarding learning outcomes, while nationals agree that English is the determining factor affecting learning outcomes.

Keywords: higher education, foreign students, teaching methods, English language, western education, support

About the author

Karīna Svētiņa is PhD student of University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art.

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0