1. Assessment and Evaluation
1.1. Monitoring the learning progress
Nunan & Lamb (1996) refer to monitoring as an integral part of the learning system which is comprised of assessment of student performance and evaluation of the effectiveness of the course design. According to Dudley-Evans & St. John (1998), “Evaluation is a process which begins with determining what information to gather and which ends with bringing about changes in current activities or future ones. It makes use of quantitative methods (e.g. tests) and qualitative methods (e.g. interview and questionnaire). It can be formative (on-going) or summative (end-of-course). An ESP programme acn use tests such as, In-class assignment results (formative), mid-term examination results (formative), final term examination/achievement test results (summative) as well as samples of students’ writing, self and peer assessment, and my personal observation to monitor the learning progress and make any changes that situational factors may require in the course design or the teaching methodology.
1.2. Choice of Assessment with its underlying principles
Assessment refers to what students can or cannot do and this ability is measured against a set of learning objectives that have been proposed in the course design (Gronlund, 1981). For example, a diagnostic test which is a performance based test on an extended sample of writing (McNamara, 2000) can be used to have clear picture of students’ writing ability both grammatical and discoursal. Similarly, achievement tests in formative and summative formats are used to measure the learning progress that has been made to date. Achievement tests are linked with the process of teaching and support the teaching to which they relate (McNamara, 2000). The in-class assignments, controlled writing practice activities recorded in the students’ portfolio, and the mid-term examination constitute this form of assessment. The results from these tests will help ascertain the learning progress that has been made as well as guide to introduce any changes which are needed in respect of course content and methodology.
It is also believed that the students should be trained to evaluate their own progress through a process known as self-assessment (Thornbury, 2006). Similarly, peer-assessment is equally effective in maximizing learning outcomes. Therefore, setting students to do pair and group work as well as do self and peer correction on a range of writing activities can be employed.
The final or end-of-term examination (summative test) determines whether the learning outcomes match the course objectives or not. The students attempt a set of tasks, and this test has high construct validity for its relevance to the aims and objectives of the course (Underhill, 1992). The test also has a high content validity as it tests representative sample of language skills, structures, and features of discourse. Finally, the test is practicable as it is be easy to administer...