University in English? Questions of Confidence

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Jennifer Igawa, Meiji Gakuin University, Faculty of International Studies; Douglas Forrester

This paper reports on an investigation into the low application rates of students at a Japanese public high school with an international studies curriculum to English-medium university programs in Japan. The study examines one potential reason for low application rates among students who have expressed interest in such university programs. An examination of confidence in the four basic skill areas, and specifically in respect to participation in such programs, shows that these students had lower confidence in their speaking skills relative to their listening, reading, and writing skills. The questions that arise from this research, including whether or not confidence levels influence application rates, are meaningful not only for universities offering English-medium curricula, but also for primary and secondary school educators.