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The Threshold Project

A major study conducted in the late 1980s into the nature of the language and learning difficulties experienced by Grade Five learners when the medium of instruction changed from mother tongue to English.
Author(s): Macdonald, C. et al

Additional Info

The Threshold Project began in 1985 with a pilot project conducted by the Institute for Research into Language and the Arts (IRLA). Funding was then obtained for the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA) (at Rhodes University) to undertake a three year research study. The study included language teaching and testing theory, cross-cultural cognitive development research, materials development, and observation of classroom practice. The problem addressed by the project was the nature of the language and learning difficulties experienced by Standard Three (Grade Five) when the medium of instruction changed from mother tongue to English.

Five final reports and a Consolidated Main Report were produced from 1990 to 1993.


Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Crossing the Threshold into Standard Three in Black Education. The Consolidated Main Report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. “How many years do you have? English language skills evaluation. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Ballpoint pens and braided hair: An analysis of reasoning skills and the curriculum. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Swimming up the waterfall: A study of school-based learning experiences. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

van Rooyen, W. 1990. The disparity between English as a subject and English as a medium of learning. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Langham, D.P. 1993. The textbook as a source of difficulty in teaching and learning.  A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council


Macdonald 1990 Crossing the threshold into standard three.pdf - 5707 KB

 
   
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