From 'essay' to 'personal text': The role of genre in Norwegian EFL exam papers 1996-2011

Sigrid Ørevik


This article investigates developments in the use of genre in Norwegian EFL exam papers for first year upper secondary school during the time period from 1996 to 2011, describing genres rendered in texts for reception (attached text material) and texts for production (task options in the main exam assignment) in the two curriculum periods Reform 94 and the Knowledge Promotion of 2006. Genre-related patterns are identified and compared, and the aspect of multimodality in texts for reception and production in EFL exams is discussed.

Material and method
Sixteen exam papers from 1996 to 2011 constitute the corpus material of the study. Genres rendered in attached text material are categorized, as well as specified and inferred genre instructions in the chief assignment for text production. The study employs a mixed method combining quantitative and qualitative analyses.

The results show significant changes in genres rendered in texts for reception. A few computer-generated genres are observed in the last curriculum period; but no increase in multimodal texts from R94 to LK06 is observed. The range of genres for production remains largely unchanged through the period of investigation, although the distribution among the genres changes. Moreover, genre instructions in text assignments are, to a certain extent, unclear or mixed in both curriculum periods, although more so in R94 than in LK06.

Discussion and conclusion
Based on these findings the article suggests further investigation and debate concerning genre awareness connected to EFL exams, among education authorities as well as among teachers and students of English.

Emneord (Nøkkelord)

EFL exam papers; texts for reception and production; genre patterns, genre awareness




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ISSN 1504-9922