Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10. Number 2. June 2019                                                     Pp. 257-269

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Readability of Reading Passages in English Textbooks and the Thai National Education
English Test
: A Comparative Study 

Thanaporn Srisunakrua
Language Institute
Thammasat University, Thailand

Tipamas Chumworatayee
Language Institute
Thammasat University, Thailand



Readability has long been regarded as a significant aspect in English language teaching as it provides the overall picture of a text’s difficulty level, especially in the context of teaching and testing.  Readability is a practical consideration when making decisions on materials to match a text with target readers’ proficiency.  However, few studies have compared the readability levels of teaching and testing materials in terms of the difficulty of passages.  The present study, therefore, aims to explore the readability levels and the linguistic characteristics of reading passages in English textbooks and the Thai National Education English Test based on three readability formulas and eight aspects of linguistic characteristics as provided by the Coh-Metrix computational tool.  Two sets of corpora were generated and analyzed by using Coh-Metrix as the main instrument.  The obtained data from the reading passages compiled in the English textbooks and the Thai national education English test were compared to explore the significant differences.  The results revealed a mismatch in the readability levels and linguistic characteristics.  Passages from the English textbooks are easier than those used in the English test.  It is recommended that all stakeholders in both teaching and testing administration be aware of the different levels of readability between reading passages.  More considerations should be made when preparing the teaching and testing materials because a suitable difficulty level will ensure that students receive the most benefit from the materials.  Moreover, an incongruity could affect students’ learning and testing performance.
Keywords: Coh-Metrix, English tests, English textbooks, readability, reading passages

Cite as: Srisunakrua, T. & Chumworatayee, T. (2019) Readability of Reading Passages in English Textbooks and the Thai National Education English Test: A Comparative Study. Arab World English Journal10 (2) 257-269.


Thanaporn Srisunakrua is a full-time lecturer at the Department of Language Studies, School
of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. She is currently a Ph. D.
Candidate at Thammasat University majoring in English Language Teaching. Her research
interests are in the areas of Reading and English language teaching.