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Assessment and curriculum reform in China : the college English test and tertiary English as a foreign language education.

Chen, Qiuxian & Klenowski, Valentina (2009) Assessment and curriculum reform in China : the college English test and tertiary English as a foreign language education. In Jeffery, Peter (Ed.) Proceedings of the 2008 AARE International Education Conference, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

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Abstract

Educational assessment was a worldwide commonplace practice in the last century. With the theoretical underpinnings of education shifting from behaviourism and social efficiency to constructivism and cognitive theories in the past two decades, the assessment theories and practices show a widespread changing movement. The emergent assessment paradigm, with a futurist perspective, indicates a deviation away from the prevailing large scale high-stakes standardised testing and an inclination towards classroom-based formative assessment. Innovations and reforms initiated in attempts to achieve better education outcomes for a sustainable future via more developed learning and assessment theories have included the 2007 College English Reform Program (CERP) in Chinese higher education context. This paper focuses on the College English Test (CET) - the national English as a Foreign Language (EFL) testing system for non-English majors at tertiary level in China. It seeks to explore the roles that the CET played in the past two College English curriculum reforms, and the new role that testing and assessment assumed in the newly launched reform. The paper holds that the CET was operationalised to uplift the standards. However, the extended use of this standardised testing system brings constraints as well as negative washback effects on the tertiary EFL education. Therefore in the newly launched reform -CERP, a new assessment model which combines summative and formative assessment approaches is proposed. The testing and assessment, assumed a new role - to engender desirable education outcomes. The question asked is: will the mixed approach to formative and summative assessment provide the intended cure to the agony that tertiary EFL education in China has long been suffering - spending much time, yet achieving little effects? The paper reports the progresses and challenges as informed by the available research literature, yet asserts a lot needs to be explored on the potential of the assessment mix in this examination tradition deep-rooted and examination-obsessed society.

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ID Code: 28346
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Testing, Assessment, EFL, Higher Education, HERN
ISSN: 1324-9339
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > LOTE ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori) (130207)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Valentina Klenowski and Qiuxian Chen.
Deposited On: 30 Oct 2009 14:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 14:58

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