Does study language (Dutch versus English) influence study success of Dutch and German students in the
Johanna F. de Vos |
Radboud Universiteit |
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences
We investigated whether the language of instruction (Dutch or English) influenced the study success of 614 Dutch and
German first-year psychology students in the Netherlands. The Dutch students who were instructed in Dutch studied in their native language
(L1), the other students in a second language (L2). In addition, only the Dutch students studied in their home country. Both these variables
could potentially influence study success, operationalised as the number of European Credits (ECs) the students obtained, their grades, and
drop-out rates. The L1 group outperformed the three L2 groups with respect to grades, but there were no significant differences in ECs and
drop-out rates (although descriptively, the L1 group still performed best). In conclusion, this study shows an advantage of studying in the
L1 when it comes to grades, and thereby contributes to the current debate in the Dutch media regarding the desirability of offering degrees
taught in English.
Keywords: English-medium education, Dutch-medium education, higher education, study language, second language acquisition, study success, academic achievement, content learning
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