Historical Perspectives: Language Program Evaluation and Applied Linguistics
In chapter 3 we looked at developments in evaluation more generally, and particularly at how these general trends and developments influenced language program evaluation. We consider here language education programs as for the most part located within this educational evaluation discourse, and evaluators who are Applied Linguists and also teachers, educationists and social scientists. In section 4.2 we describe these developments and consider how they have shaped language program evaluation. We then look at two areas in which particular features of the Applied Linguistics/language education field have been influential (section 4.3). First, we focus on language learning theory in program evaluations (both as a purpose and as a framework for designing tests and other instruments, and for analysing classroom data). Then we explore evaluations which are part of development programs, and where activity is often characterised by two kinds of constraints: the international setting of the program and the evaluation, and the challenges of program implementation. In section 4.4 we consider an emerging theme in language program evaluation: assessments of language use in contexts other than that of language education programs. These include service and communication contexts where performance has a language element, and where applied linguistics expertise has made a contribution to understanding the factors which relate to successful (and other) performance.
KeywordsProgram Evaluation Language Learning Language Education Language Program Soft System Methodology
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