AbstractThis paper describes and reflects on endeavours to develop, design and assess an educational intervention to improve the academic English reading proficiency of first-year university students in Ghana. The study, conducted within the framework of educational design research (EDR), describes the development of an intervention in three different content areas: Literature, Chemistry and Linguistics. The study shows that moving from problem identification to solution is a highly complicated process that is strongly influenced by contextual factors such as staff and student motivation, classroom facilities, and quality of the learning materials. After various cycles of formative evaluation, only the Linguistics course design was fully successful in terms of design, evaluation and experimental set-up and resulted in a significant improvement of students’ academic reading proficiency and a significant increase of their time spent on reading for study purposes. The study shows how language skills development can be integrated successfully in content courses in a non-western university context. By doing so, it extends prior research in the area of content-based language instruction
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