The Relationship between Reading Anxiety and Reading Performance: A Comparison Study of Chinese Postgraduates in China and in the UK

Journal: Journal of Higher Education Research DOI: 10.32629/jher.v2i4.389

Zhiyi Zhu

Guangdong Peizheng College


This study investigated three aspects that related to Foreign Language (FL) reading anxiety: the FL reading anxiety levels; the relationship between FL reading anxiety and reading performance; the main sources of FL reading anxiety. With both quantitative and qualitative research method, the total amount of 47 Chinese postgraduates took part in a paper questionnaire including Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS) and reading test, Cambridge Advanced English (CAE). According to the FLRAS scores, 12 of them had one-to-one semi-structured interviews. The results shows that most Chinese postgraduates experienced a moderate level of English reading anxiety, and that international students have higher reading anxiety than domestic students. No statistically significant relationship was found between FL reading anxiety and the reading test. After thematic coding analysis, the main sources of English reading anxiety among international students were found to be ‘demanding text feature’ and ‘different class settings in the UK’. For domestic students, limited English exposure was the main source. Recommendations for teachers and for both groups of students are provided, and the limitations of the present study and suggestions for future research are discussed at the end of the paper.


foreign language reading anxiety, reading performance, Chinese postgraduates


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