Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Conformity between the Evaluation Methods of English and the Iranian Junior High School Students' Linguistic Needs

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Conformity between the Evaluation Methods of English and the Iranian Junior High School Students' Linguistic Needs

Article excerpt

Introduction

Educational programs are in constant need of decisions to be made as to the effectiveness of the program. In every context, educational or non-educational ones, the positive feeling as a result of accomplishing a task known as satisfaction is a sufficiently interesting subject which means that the learners goals and also needs have been met. To help educationalists and stakeholders revise and reconsider the context of education and the decisions, students' satisfaction information can present good hints (Witowski, 2008). To make the program more efficient, researchers should evaluate the program repeatedly and regularly (Aman, 2009). This can be materialized through using direct performance criterions such as comprehensive exams or by indirect ones like students' satisfaction with the curriculum (Jamelske, 2009).

To be useful and effective, any evaluation requires planning. Alderson (1992) and Genesee and Upshur (1996) maintain that the result of assessment can be used by different people for different purposes. Teachers are the main users of this information, primarily to make decisions about ongoing instruction, about students' current learning needs, instructional activities and so on. As cited by Mal Amiri (2008), Alderson and Scott (1992) believe that both insiders and outsiders should be involved at all stages in the process. However, as Alderson (1992) points out, there are situations where it is acceptable that an outsider be asked to evaluate a program. He believes that the content of any evaluation must relate to its purpose. There is a wide range of content that an evaluation can focus on, like the learning outcomes of the program, or attitudes to the language, its speakers and culture, etc. Alderson (1992) asserts that how one is to evaluate will depend upon what is to be evaluated. There is no one-to-one relationship between the content and the method of evaluation.

Legitimate and trustworthy program evaluation studies of teachers and students development programs are essential for education in general and foreign language teaching in particular. What can be witnessed as a major model all over the literature on professional development is that, only partial awareness is given to evaluating the program in spite of the fact that a lot of value is dedicated to the program design and its execution process. This is problematic since evaluation is a fundamental module in specifying the advantages of any professional development process. This discrepancy is ascribed to the stakeholders by Guskey (2000), in which it is believed that evaluation as waste of time and considering its impact as trivial on the daily tasks. Dufour and Eaker (1998) believe most of evaluation efforts lack a strong structure and framework in design and planning and are far from meaningfulness. Just mere perceptions of "happiness quotient" are quoted inadequately. Guskey (2000, p.92) puts it clearly:

A lot of good things have been done in the name of professional development; so have a lot of rotten things. What professional developers have not done is provide evidence to document the difference between the good and the rotten. Evaluation is the key, not only making those distinctions, but also to explaining how and why they occurred. To do this, we must recognize the important summative purposes that evaluation serves, as well as its vital planning and formative purposes.

Schools are required to get involved in systematic and ongoing evaluation of programs which may provide relevant information for the policy making educational authorities.

Program evaluation produces a sort of formative feedback that helps the implementation of the curriculum as it was intended (Madaus G.F. & Stufflebeam 2002). It simultaneously assists the administrators of the curriculum to see if they are progressing in the path which was anticipated and determined by the objectives, and whether the learners themselves are satisfied with the course outcome. …

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