Evaluating a Developed Framework for Curriculum Evaluation in Oman

Article excerpt

Abstract

The field of curriculum evaluation is a key part of the educational process. This means that this area needs to be developed continuously and requires ongoing research. This study highlights curriculum evaluation in Oman, different evaluation procedures and methods and instruments used. The need for a framework for curriculum evaluation is a vital part of this research. This study-which includes 34 samples-evaluates of the framework developed by the researcher. In this study the curriculum officers are included along with English language supervisors from different regions in Oman and selected officers from the Office of the Undersecretary of Curriculum and Learning who seem to be closer to the policy makers and who have an English language background. These were involved in evaluating the framework which led to the development of a modified framework which they agreed to use in their own and the whole Omani ELT context. The study highlights the need for making the framework public and continuing to develop and evaluate it regularly. One of the key issues, presented within this study, is the need to develop a general framework for ELT in Oman. This covers all aspects related to the area with the focus on different parties such as learners' assessment and teacher training by highlighting their role in the whole process. The research ends by discussing the need for two future research projects in similar contexts. This includes research into stakeholders' needs and expectations in Oman and also developing specific learning outcomes for each grade of the curriculum.

Keywords: evaluating a framework, Curriculum Evaluation, developing a framework, Oman, Curriculum Officers

1. Introduction

Reform initiatives, in terms of English language education in Oman, start at the Ministry of Education, which seeks to implement changes via a new or revised curriculum. As the principles underlying the approach represented in any new textbook or other educational reform initiative may be novel to the end users (classroom teachers and learners), problems can arise if there is a lack of explanation, orientation or a lack of effective Curriculum Evaluation process. If this area of Curriculum Evaluation is neglected, the textbook may be abandoned outright, or, more likely, a hidden curriculum could develop, with teaching and learning taking place much as it did prior to the introduction of the innovation (Kennedy, 1987 pp: 164-5). Therefore, there is a need for a systematic Curriculum Evaluation to support practitioners in the field.

In 2005 a new department, the Department of Curriculum Evaluation, was founded within the Ministry of Education. The main aim of having this department is to participate in developing the curriculum based on the learning objectives in Oman, the type of learners and society and the need for the workplace. Therefore, there is a need to develop a clear and planned approach for developing and evaluating the curriculum and not to deal with it in a random way (Al-Jardani 2011).

Every year, the curriculum section of each subject suggests the grade which they expect the Department of Curriculum Evaluation to work on. It can be more than one grade suggested, however it seems that one grade is what's done considering the shortage of members of the curriculum evaluation department. The department uses different curriculum officers including all subjects. They also use the supervision departments and teachers in schools to evaluate the books. For example, if grade 1 Arabic language course book was selected, the members of Arabic language in the Curriculum evaluation have to plan the whole evaluation process, but can use members of Arabic curriculum section, supervisors of Arabic language, Arabic teachers in schools, as well as learners if necessary(Al-Jardani 2012).

2. Research Questions

1. How useful are the elements included in the Framework for Curriculum Evaluation for the Omani context? …