Notes towards some principles for examining EnglishIdiom (2012)
It is a curious fact that there is little systematic thought about how subject English should be externally examined. A glance at the archives of English in Australia shows that there are very few articles on external examinations in the history of that publication. There are a few discussions of examinations in the journals of state and territory English teaching associations, but these articles are concerned with pragmatics rather than principles. There is very little to be found about examining subject English in the national or international research literature. A review of the different English examinations in Australia shows very substantial differences between the state and territory systems. A review of English examinations in the two countries most comparable to Australia, Britain and New Zealand, shows less diversity of approach than is to be seen in the Australian systems, but this comparison also prompts some generalisations about differences in the nature and quality of those examinations. It might be said that there is no need to discuss the basis of English examinations as such because English examinations are just another part of a larger examination system. Or it might be said that there is little need to discuss their basis because they, like other examinations, are to be reviewed according to the standard terms of equity, validity and reliability, or that there is no need to discuss their basis because they should be designed from a stated set of aims or goals. For an outcomes-based curriculum it might be claimed that the assessment should be at least implicit in the outcomes that define the course. But an examination of the different English examinations in Australia shows that there is no necessary or inevitable alignment between the aims and outcomes of courses and the examinations that are to assess them. It sometimes seems that the aims or outcomes of one course are aligned with an examination intended to assess the aims and outcomes of a different course. What principles, then, might be offered as a basis for designing an examination of subject English?
- English teaching
Citation InformationDoug McCurry. "Notes towards some principles for examining English" Idiom Vol. 48 Iss. 1 (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/doug_mccurry/7/