Transition from secondary school to higher education: Implications for academic English learning

Wai Ho Kevin YUNG, Natalie FONG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Globalisation has made higher education increasingly internationalised, reinforcing the importance of English as a means for academic communication. In this regard, many universities in non-English-speaking countries mandate that local first-year undergraduates take an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course. At the same time, native speakers of English and local students who attain outstanding English results in public examinations may be granted exemption. An important question to ask is: Are students of high English proficiency ready to use English for university studies without taking an EAP course? This study addresses this question by focusing on the cases of nine first-year high English proficiency undergraduates admitted to an English-medium university in Hong Kong. These students attained the highest level in English language in the local secondary school leaving public examination. Two in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant to evaluate their learning experiences in secondary school and taking the university EAP course. The findings reveal the challenges of learning EAP among those high-achievers and reveal the gap between secondary school English and academic English. The study offers insights into what first-year students need in EAP when they transition from the local secondary school context to the increasingly globalised higher education context. Copyright © 2018 Asia TEFL.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018



Yung, K., & Fong, N. (2018, June). Transition from secondary school to higher education: Implications for academic English learning. Paper presented at The 16th Asia TEFL 1st MAAL & 6th HAAL 2018 International Conference: English Language Teaching in the Changing Glocalised World: Research and Praxis, University of Macau, Macau, China.