Evaluation of Modular EFL Educational Program (Audio-Visual Materials Translation & Translation of Deeds & Documents)

Article excerpt

Abstract

Modular EFL Educational Program has managed to offer specialized language education in two specific fields: Audio-visual Materials Translation and Translation of Deeds and Documents. However, no explicit empirical studies can be traced on both internal and external validity measures as well as the extent of compatibility of both courses with the standards and criteria of scientific educational program. In a bid to address these issues, this study was conducted to evaluate the program from five fundamental criteria including: Admission Requirements, Program Content, Program Resources, Program Instruction/Evaluation Methods, and Graduation/Employment Requirements. Methodologically, the study is based on the requirements of both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. To this end, a sample of teachers enjoying at least five years of offering both courses attempted a 22-item Likert-scaled questionnaire accommodating subcategories of the five macro criteria followed by open-ended written protocol commenting spaces for qualitative data. The findings revealed controversies over the all the macro-criteria and compatibility of the program with these well-established standards; suggesting exercise of comprehensive revisits and modifications in all aspects of the program as a whole.

Keywords: Modular EFL Education, program evaluation, translation courses

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduce the Problem

One of the most crucial prerequisites of conducting an effective educational program, particularly foreign language learning program, is having a clearly defined curriculum with specific predetermined objectives. Taba (1962) cited by Tunc (2010) notes that "A curriculum usually contains a statement of aims and of specific objectives; it indicates some selection and organization of content; it either implies or manifests certain patterns of learning and teaching.... Finally, it includes a program of evaluation of the outcomes." (p. 11). This highlights the significance of having codified standards for a curriculum in specific and an educational program in general. The predetermined international standards act as an impeccable criterion for the curriculum upon which it can be evaluated. From this point of view, carrying out evaluation studies in order to comprehend strengths and weaknesses of educational programs, applying modifications and determining the degree of consistency between standard educational systems and other systems in other contexts seem to be an essential mission of every successful educational program.

1.2 Standards of Language Education Program

Richards (n.d.) claims that a language curriculum should be viewed as "...a network of interacting systems involving teachers, learners, materials, schools, administrators and curriculum planners, and choices at one level affect other elements in the system." (p. 13). Similarly, Kucuk (2010) states that a language teaching program is "a series of foreign language courses teaching the language through some kind of methodology so as to fulfill aim/aims such as communication or passing a proficiency exam." (p. 53)

Language education in Iran is run by both public and private sectors. Although the Ministry of Education has a full supervision over the public institutions, private sector is mainly managed on financial basis and is viewed as a business opportunity for its stakeholders. Therefore, it is probable that such organizations lack necessary qualifications for a successful educational program. There are some dimensions which address the quality management in educational systems in general and language educational systems in particular. Accordingly, Richards (n.d.) refers to some aspects that need to be constantly examined in order to maintain the quality of teaching and learning in language educational programs aligned with standards. They are "... design of the curriculum, the quality of instructional materials, the role of tests, provisions for teacher training, and the kinds of administrative support provided by schools and educational institutions. …