Good Example Of A Critical Review About Curriculum And Assessment Article Review
This review of the curriculum and assessment in connection to teaching English as a Second Language will provide a big picture on how the assessment for students who are studying the English language as their second or foreign language will become more effective if it were aligned with the curriculum, syllabi, strategies, and methodologies for teaching English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language.
Curriculum planning is the systematic planning for the improvement of the school in line with its objectives (Toepfer, 1971, p. 134). In addition, it does not only pertain to long-term developments that will influence many students but also the immediate actions, which will eventually affect some (Toepfer, 1971, p. 135). After the planning of the curriculum, the syllabus will follow suit. It should be done according to the objectives of the curriculum. It is an outline of the topics to be covered the whole year, and includes the subject description and requirements for a course (Chapman, 2015). The syllabus will dictate the strategies and methodology that a teacher should use in teaching the English language. After determining the appropriate strategies and methodology, the teacher will create an assessment. According to Linse (2007, p.1), assessment is defined as “the process which serves to verify, substantiate, authenticate and corroborate student learning described in the goals and objectives stated for a program, curriculum, or course” (Linse, 2001, p.1).
Curriculum Planning and System Change
As the basis for a school, the curriculum is the bigger umbrella from which the syllabus, lesson plans, and assessments are derived in order to ensure alignment with the school’s goals and objectives. Curriculum planning is done to achieve system changes in school. There are three levels of curriculum planning, namely institutional, programmatic, and classroom (Deng, 2013, p. 3).
The institutional curriculum exemplifies the ideal school in respect to culture and society (Deng, 2013, p. 4). Institutional curriculum planning shows what should be in school in terms of broad goals and general approaches to education (Deng, 2013, p. 4). According to Westbury (as cited in Deng, 2013, p.5), programmatic curriculum planning is in the middle of institutional and classroom curriculum planning. It concretizes and bridges the gap between institutional and classroom curriculum. Classroom curriculum, or curriculum as event or the enacted curriculum, is described as the combination of events inside the classroom by the teacher and the students (Deng, 2013, p.7 ). As explained by Deng (2013, p. 7), curriculum planning at this level involves the translation of institutional and programmatic curriculum for the students’ learning experiences.
The three levels of curriculum planning are interrelated to and interdependent with each other. They are interrelated because programmatic and classroom curriculum planning cannot be developed without the national policies, goals, and approaches defined by the national government of a country and found in the institutional curriculum. Next, programmatic curriculum, which is in the middle of the two, serves as a medium for translating curriculum from the national level to the smaller unit of society, which is the classroom. Classroom curriculum, on the other hand, will be designed according to the national objectives stated in the institutional curriculum, which is then translated by the programmatic curriculum of the school in accordance to their own goals and objectives. The three curriculums should work together to produce significant change in the system of schooling.
Syllabus Design to Curriculum Development
In teaching the English language, it is important to take into consideration the students who will receive the lessons. Developing lessons and choosing the topics to be discussed should be at their level of understanding. The lessons should fulfill the needs of the students with regards to the particular skill they should pay attention to. The situational approach or Situational Language Teaching is used in a syllabus that aims to identify the weaknesses of students (Richards, 2001, p. 24).
After employing this approach in teaching English as a second language, a number of concerns surfaced; hence, giving rise to an approach called English for Specific Purposes or ESP. According to Richards (2001, p. 28), ESP focuses on the specific English needed by someone to carry out their job or task. Thus, the purpose of the syllabus in curriculum development is based on the needs of a student. It will be a specialized form of teaching that responds to the needs of the learner.
Impact of English as a Global Language
The curriculum tackled and designed in this paper is about the English language, in consideration of its impact to speakers of other languages. In this regard, the Teachers of English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) should determine the impact of English to foreign learners. In the study by Nunan (2003), in the Asia Pacific countries he surveyed, the schools designate time and courses for English language subjects. This means that the impact of English is important to them. In the study of Nunan (2003), it was also found that the students were eager to learn English; however, there were constraints in their acquisition of the skills they needed, such as the proficiency of teachers in English, the inappropriate strategies and methodologies in teaching English, and the misaligned curricula of the school.
Furthermore, it was found in the research that the countries invest in teaching English to the students but that they could not achieve the results they wanted (Richards, 2001, p. 41). In this regard, it is imperative that teachers be given enough training in teaching English to non-native speakers. It is also necessary to identify the skills needed to be honed by the learners so that the institutional, programmatic, and classroom curricula are aligned. This will surely bring better results for achieving proficiency in the English language.
After each lesson, it is normal for a teacher to measure what their students learned during the class. Assessment is an important part of teaching. The results from the quizzes or activities given by the teacher will determine what the students learned and what they did not learn. Language testing is not only confined in the paper-pencil but there are alternative language assessments that a teacher can utilize, and which will allow the English teacher to evaluate the skill being taught. As explained by Brown and Hudson (1998, p.653), these alternative language assessments are as follows: (1) selected-response, which includes true-false, matching, and multiple-choice; (2) constructed response, which includes fill-ins, short answers, and performance assessments; and (3) personal response, which includes conference, port folio and self and peer assessment.
The assessments should be appropriate for the designed curriculum of a certain school. There are three ways to check the suitability of the assessment, and these are as follows: (1) washback, which is the identification of the effects of the assessment on the language teaching curriculum; (2) feedback, which consists of the scores from the assessment, which will determine the level of the learning they had; and (3) multiple sources of information (Brown & Hudson, 1998, p. 666-670).
Davison (2007) also added another type of assessment, which is the school-based assessment. It is the combination of both the formative and summative purposes for learning. The teachers are involved in every step of making the assessment -- from planning and identifying to developing the appropriate program of assessment (Davison, 2007, p. 38). The assessments made by both teachers and students are mostly self and peer assessments.
Curriculum planning is a central part of developing the strategy and methodology that teachers can use in teaching the English language. Institutional, programmatic, and classroom curriculum should all be connected to one another and should be parallel to the goals and objectives in the national, school, and classroom level. The type of assessment to be used will depend on the topics or lessons covered in a syllabus, which is again developed in connection to the programmatic curriculum. Assessments should be given to identify the skills that should be strengthened further in terms of learning the English language.
Brown, J. & Hudson, T. (1998). The alternatives in language assessment. TESOL Quarterly, 32
Chapman, S. (2015). Creating an effective syllabus. Retrieved from
Davison, C. (2007). Views from the chalkface: English language school-based assessment in
Hong Kong. Language Assessment Quarterly, 4 (1),37-68.
Deng, Z. (2013). Globalization and the Singapore curriculum: From policy to classroom.
Linse, B. (2007). Educational assessment definitions. Retrieved from
Nunan, D. (2003). The impact of English as a global language on educational policies and
practices in Asia Pacific countries. TESOL Quarterly, 37 (4), 589-613.
Richards, J. (2001). Curriculum development language teaching. UK: Cambridge University
Toepfer, C. (1971). Actualizing concept learning: The challenge to curriculum planning.
Theory into Practice, 10 (2), 134-137.
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