More dropouts from courses in English

More dropouts from courses in English
full screen Studying in English can have negative effects compared to a course in Swedish, according to a new study. Archive image. Photo: Berit Roald/Ntb/TT

Teaching in English has become increasingly common at Swedish universities and colleges.

At the same time, courses in English can both have more dropouts and give worse study results than the corresponding course in Swedish, according to a study from KTH and Chalmers.

The researchers randomly divided roughly 2,200 students into an English-language and a Swedish-language introductory course in programming.

The course was completely digital and the students could study at their own pace. However, it turned out that those who studied in English got significantly worse results compared to the course in Swedish.

Those who studied in Swedish answered, on average, 73 percent more test questions included in the course correctly. In addition, 25 percent more students dropped out of the English-language version.

“It is important to remember that a single study should not be used as a starting point for a radical change agenda in terms of language or education policy in higher education, whether at a local or national level,” says Hans Malmström, who is an assistant professor at Chalmers, in a press release.

“However, we believe that the results of this research can contribute to a more informed discussion about the consequences of using English as a language of instruction”.