English- vs. Chinese-Medium Instruction in Chinese Higher Education: A Quasi-Experimental Comparison Academic Article uri icon


  • Through a quasi-experimental approach, we compared Chinese college students learning motivation, content knowledge, English language proficiency, and instructors pedagogical practices between an English-medium instruction (EMI) and the parallel Chinese-medium instruction (CMI) course in a non-traditional discipline. Results indicated that EMI was more effective, as compared to CMI, in motivating students learning of the focal subject. More specifically, EMI students held a stronger external goal orientation than did their CMI peers. Further, EMI and CMI students performed on par in their final exam in the subject and English after one semester of participation, controlling for their prior performance. The finding suggested that EMI did not carry a detrimental effect on Chinese college students content area learning. Finally, observation revealed a significantly higher percentage of English language instruction focused on higher-order dense cognitive area in the EMI classroom where students were more engaged in their learning. Implications for policy and research were discussed regarding this educational approach for sustained and optimized student learning.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Guo, H., Tong, F., Wang, Z., Min, Y., & Tang, S.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Guo, Haitao||Tong, Fuhui||Wang, Zhuoying||Min, Yue||Tang, Shifang

publication date

  • January 2018