Research Item (34)
The purpose of the study is to have a relook at the ESL reading comprehension assessment system for Malaysian Year Five students. Traditionally, the ESL teachers have been assessing and reporting on their primary year’s students by merely giving a composite grade with some vague remarks. This process has been used and is still being employed in spite of the numerous advances and progress that have been made in the realm of education. To gauge the students’ reading ability there is a need to take a serious look into the way teachers assess the students. In this ESL reading comprehension assessment system, a set of standardised generic reading comprehension test, a reading matrix and reading performance descriptors were developed. The findings revealed that Year Five respondents at reading performance Band 1, Band 2, Band 3, Band 4 and Band 5 have acquired the literal, reorganization and inferential reading sub-skills to a certain extent. The results obtained were found to be consistent indicating that the ESL reading assessment is reliable and valid to a large extent as revealed by a second administration of the test conducted in a few other selected primary schools. This ESL reading comprehension system can provide information on students’ reading ability at both the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, ESL teachers can plan their teaching instructions that tailor to the needs of the students. At the macro level, it can assist the district as well as the state education departments in Malaysia to plan reading programmes for primary school students.
This study aims to investigate the effects of guided task-based planning on the accuracy of Iranian EFL learners’ writing performance. Participants were forty eight EFL learners' studying at Islamic Azad University in Kerman, Iran. They were randomly divided into three experimental groups of sixteen students: one group with meaning-based pre-task planning; the other group with form-based pre-task planning; and the last one with meaning and form based pre-task planning. Participants in the form-based planning were taught how to plan the form of their written production in five minutes for eight following sessions. In meaning-based planning condition, the learners were given instructions about planning the content of their argumentative writings in five minutes for eight sessions. In the third group, however, the learners were helped to focus both on form and content in five minutes for eight following sessions. Then, they engaged in planning. The three groups received the same pre-test as post-test and the same topic in each of the eight sessions with the same examples. After collecting and analyzing the pretest and posttest data, the results showed the significantly superior effects of form- and meaning-based pre-task planning on the accuracy of the writing performance.
p>Writing connotes the declaration or expression of thoughts, feelings, plans and wishes in a composed form that demands skills and expertise as opposed to knowledge. Skillful writing calls for diligent work, perusing or reading, composing through reaching inferences from perusing materials and long period of practice. This study seeks to investigate the problems and identify the practical needs of writing skill in English as Foreign Language (EFL) context with special focus on Iranian citizens studying in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). In Iran, learning English language appears cumbersome for learners because it is handled as a foreign language. Hence, the leaners are confronted with plethora of problems in writing the language because it is not utilized in real life conversation or situation. In order to achieve its objectives, the study administered questionnaires to the respondents to elicit information on the difficulties confronting them while learning English as Foreign Language and their pragmatic needs. </p
- May 2016
Based on the findings of previous studies which highlight the role of vocabulary knowledge in English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language (EFL/ESL) learners’ learning process, this study is aimed at exploring the effectiveness of critical thinking on vocabulary learning by Malaysian EFL learners. .To achieve the purpose of this study, 60 male undergraduate EFL learners studying English at Asian EFL Academy Language Institute in Pinang were selected after administering Preliminary English Test.To examine whether there is a significant difference between experimental and control group, two parallel versions of Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (Pribakht & Wesche, 1993) were used as pre-test and post-test. The participants in experimental group were instructed on how to employ critical thinking strategies on vocabulary learning. The results of the post-test showed that the experimental group who received formal instruction based on the critical thinking strategies revealed the prominent development and interest in vocabulary learning. The t-test also indicated a significant difference between the performance of the control and experimental group.
- Apr 2016
Reading comprehension is a flexible and ongoing cognitive and constructive process. There are different pre-reading methods that can influence positively on EFL learners’ reading comprehension. Thus, this research investigated the impact of brainstorming as a pre-reading strategy on reading comprehension ability of Malaysian EFL learners. The study used an experimental design with fifty students who were between 12 to 18 years of age at intermediate level were considered homogenized. In order to have homogenized participants a language proficiency test was run. It was given to 70 students at Asian EFL Academy Language Institute in Pinang, Malaysia. The results of the proficiency test confirmed the homogeneity of the participants regarding their reading comprehension ability. Then, the researcher divided the students into two groups, control and experimental. An immediate- delayed test was administered to both groups before and after the implementation of the proposed technique on the experimental group. Experimental group received treatment for a given period of the time. At the end of the specified period of treatment both groups received a delayed test. None of the groups had any previous experience in brainstorming strategies. An immediate test was covered having 10 reading comprehension questions carrying out every two session at the end of each reading comprehension lesson. The last session was devoted to conduct the delayed tests including 50 questions at the end of treatment. The participants in the experimental group were instructed how to use brainstorming strategies before reading passages in 10 sessions for 20 minutes at Asian EFL Academy Language institute in Pinang, Malaysia. A statistical comparison of the results indicated that brainstorming strategies have a positive significant effect on reading comprehension ability of the participants.
This study was conducted to systematically track and benchmark upper primary school students' ESL reading comprehension ability and subsequently generate data at the micro and macro levels according to individual achievement, school location, gender and ethnicity at the school, district, state and national levels. The main intention of this initiative was to provide information to assist ESL teachers about their students' reading ability and to determine students' reading comprehension performance standards. The auto generated data is expected to facilitate classroom instructional process without necessitating teachers to prepare test materials or manage data of their students' reading comprehension track records. The respondents were 1,514 Year 5 students from urban and rural schools from a district in northern Malaysia. The idea was conceptualised through a series of tests and development of the Reading Evaluation and Decoding System (READS) for Primary Schools. The findings indicated that majority of the respondents were 'below standard' and 'at academic warning'. We believe the generated data can assist the Ministry of Education to develop better quality instructional processes that are evidence based with a more focused reading instruction and reading material to tailor to the needs of students.
Speaking is an important skill that needs to be mastered as it is the best way to communicate with other people in order to deliver opinions and express ideas, but the fact is that secondary school students’ ability in speaking English is low in Malaysia. It is caused by several factors such as lack of vocabulary, poor pronunciation, weak grammar and poor fluency that hinders the mastery of English language. In this research, Oral Proficiency in English for Secondary Schools (OPS-English) Programme was employed to improve students’ speaking skill by engaging them in vocabulary based activities. The main objectives of this study are to investigate the effectiveness of OPS-English in improving the students speaking skills and increasing their vocabulary count. This is an experimental pretest-posttest control group design study which involved 70 students from a school located in one of the districts in Kedah, Malaysia. The duration of the study was 8 weeks. The data collection was done using pre-test and post-test. The data from the pre-test and post-test was analysed quantitatively using independent sample test. The findings of this study show that OPS-English can improve students’ vocabulary. This is proven by experimental group’s students’ test score that showed improvement in the post-test. OPS-English is a suitable programme that should be used to improve students’ vocabulary. The result of this study provides useful insights for English language teachers in teaching speaking.Keywords: OPS-English, speaking ability, secondary school students, vocabulary activities
The study aims to develop a set of 6 Reading Comprehension Modules (RCMs) for Malaysian ESL teachers to facilitate different reading abilities of ESL students effectively. Different skill categories were selected for developing the RCMs. This article describes how and why diverse texts of varying length were adopted and adapted from various authentic sources for ESL students having different reading abilities/bands. It also discusses how literal, reorganisation, and inferential questions were constructed appropriately based on the texts selected in the RCMs. Five experienced content/language experts validated the RCMs while eighty ESL students selected through purposive sampling from a secondary school from Penang, Malaysia participated in the pilot study for determining the reliability of the RCMs. The results of the pilot study revealed that the participants improved their scores gradually. Kuder and Richardson Formula 20 (KR-20) was employed to determine the internal consistency of the RCMs. The calculated values of RCMs ranged between 0.804 and 0.923 that indicate high reliability. The RCMs were standardised through a rigorous developmental process by using the Pebble in the Pond Model (Merril, 2002). We hope that the standardised RCMs would act as indicators for the ESL teachers to enhance ESL students' performance in reading comprehension.
This paper describes an initiative to systematically gauge English as Second Language (ESL) learners' grammar proficiency. Grammar Assessment System was developed with the goal to determine learners' grammar proficiency and place learners in their respective grammar proficiency levels. The novelty of the Grammar Assessment System is in the three notable elements; Grammar Test, Grammar Matrix and Grammar Descriptor. The respondents comprised of 848 students from 10 secondary schools in Penang. The findings of this study showed that 34.0% of the respondents were categorised as 'Above Standard', 29.5% of the respondents were categorised as 'Meet Standard' and 36.5% of the respondents were categorised as 'Below Standard'. The study's value lies in its capacity to provide practising teachers with a set of indicators to gain accurate information with regards to their students' grammar proficiency.
Knowledge of target language conventional expressions is of crucial importance for language learners not only because they contribute to nativelike speech fluency but also because speakers from the same speech community share knowledge and use of the same inventory of conventional expressions. To assess the effect of form-focused pragmatic instruction in general and the effect of type of form-focused pragmatic instruction including Focus on Form and Focus on Forms methods in particular on improving the ability to produce target language conventional expressions appropriately, an experimental study was conducted over 45 senior undergraduate learners of English as a Foreign Language at a university in Iran. The experiment comprised random assignment of participants into three groups consisting of two experimental groups (Focus on Form group and Focus on Forms group) and one control group, conducting eight intervention sessions, and administration of a discourse completion task. The findings revealed that generally form-focused pragmatic instruction was effective in improving the ability to produce target language conventional expressions appropriately and there was no significant difference between the effect of Focus on Form and Focus on Forms pragmatic instruction. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested furnishing foreign language classrooms with form-focused pragmatic instruction.
Mastery of target language conventional expressions seems to require awareness of the differences between native language and target language pragmatic features. To test the effect of awareness of target language pragmatic features on comprehension and production of target language conventional expressions, the current study was conducted over 60 learners of English in an intensive English program in Universiti Sains Malaysia. Pragmatic awareness, comprehension, and production were respectively assessed through a contextualized pragmatic judgment task, a multiple choice pragmatic listening comprehension test, and an oral discourse completion task. The results of the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed that awareness of target language pragmatic features is a predictor of appropriate comprehension and production of target language conventional expressions. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested the development of awareness of target language pragmatic features in English as Foreign Language learners.
Language learners’ awareness of target language pragmatic features is influenced by individual difference variables, the least explored one being emotional intelligence. To investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and pragmatic awareness, the current study was conducted over 120 Iranian senior undergraduates of English as a Foreign Language at a university in Iran. Pragmatic awareness was measured through a 12-scenario contextualized pragmatic judgment task. Emotional intelligence was also measured through the EQ-i. The results of the Pearson correlation revealed a strong positive relationship between emotional intelligence and pragmatic awareness. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested incorporation of emotion-driven authentic materials in English language classes to invoke emotional intelligence in language learners.
Reading and understanding a written text is one of the most important skills in English learning.This study attempts to benchmark Year Five students' reading abilities of fifteen rural schools in a district in Malaysia. The objectives of this study are to develop a set of standardised written reading comprehension and a set of indicators to inform ESL teachers about the exact ability of the students. A sample of 788 primary school students from the rural areas was involved in this study. The instrument utilised in this study was a set of standardised written reading comprehension test which was developed in line with Malaysian English Language Syllabus (2003), the revised Barrett's Taxonomy of Reading Comprehension (Day & Park, 2005) and the revised Bloom's Taxonomy (Anderson et al. 2001). The set of standardised written reading comprehension questions consists of 50 multiple-choice questions at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. The findings show that many Malay respondents were categorised at 'below expectations' and female students perform better than male students. Finally, the researcher suggested several recommendations.
In general, incidental vocabulary acquisition is represented as the "picking up" of new vocabularies when students are engaged in a variety of reading, listening, speaking, or writing activities. Research has shown when learners read extensively incidental vocabulary acquisition happens. Many EFLstudents cannotbe involved in reading activities in Iran. For involving students with more reading activitiesin EFLclassroom teaching and likening the resultsto the vocabulary exercises, the researcher directed a researchfor about five weeks in an EFLclass. The subjects were 120 male and female students at high school level. Half of them (RP group) read chosen passages after which they did different vocabulary activities and exercises. The other half (RO group) received the reading only (RO) treatment, i.e., they only read several reading texts. The significance of the present study lies in the fact that it was able to compare the effectiveness of reading only and reading plus vocabulary enhancement activities on types of immediate and delayed lexical word recall in a single study. The researcher employed the Vocabulary Knowledge Scale to measure students' knowledge of 60 vocabulary items. The results showed that RP group gained better results than RO group on both acquisition and retention tests. This indicates that "Reading plus" method is more effective in increasing knowledge of vocabulary and long term retention in male and female EFL learners in Iran. © the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal.
The distance between language learners' culture and the culture of the target language community is considered to play a crucial role in determining the level of pragmatic comprehension. In this respect, a study was conducted over 30 German students, perceived as culturally close to the British, and 30 South Korean students, perceived as culturally distant from the British, studying English as a Foreign Language at a university in their home countries. Pragmatic comprehension ability was assessed through a 24-item multiple choice pragmatic comprehension test. The findings suggested the crucial role of cultural distance in pragmatic comprehension ability, that is, a shorter distance from the culture of the target language community led to a higher level of pragmatic comprehension. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested the provision of opportunities for the students of English as a Foreign Language to be exposed to the culture of the target language community through cultural instruction, educational sojourn, or telecollaborative partnership.
Pragmatic comprehension can be ideally developed through contact with target language speakers. This contact can be provided in English as Foreign Language contexts through telecollaboration. To test the actual effect of telecollaboration on the development of pragmatic comprehension, 30 Iranian undergraduates of English as a Foreign Language participated in an experimental study. The participants were divided into two groups of 15 students: control group which merely received pragmatic instructions and experimental group which had the opportunity to interact with target language speakers through internet-mediated communication tools besides receiving pragmatic instructions. The data were collected through a multiple choice pragmatic comprehension test, following a semester-long intervention. The comparison of the performance of the two groups assessed through the independent-samples t-test showed the significant positive effect of telecollaboration on the development of pragmatic comprehension. Pedagogical implications of the findings suggested organizing telecollaborative partnership environments to link English as Foreign Language students with university students in native English speaking countries.
Abstract This paper describes an initiative to systematically gauge English as Second Language (ESL) learners' grammar proficiency. Grammar Assessment System was developed with the goal to determine learners' grammar proficiency and place learners in their respective grammar proficiency levels. The novelty of the Grammar Assessment System is in the three notable elements; Grammar Test, Grammar Matrix and Grammar Descriptor. The respondents comprised of 848 students from 10 secondary schools in Penang. The ...
Reading Comprehension Modules were developed based on research, reading theories, and with reference to the mandated English Language Curriculum and Syllabus. A set of 6 modules consisting of a diverse collection of texts from different sources of varying text length were developed based on READS (Reading Evaluation And Decoding System) Assessment Kit previously developed by Abdul Rashid et al. (2010). READS assessment kit was utilised to capture students’ reading ability and comprehension skills and introspectively made sense of students’ actual reading ability in terms of what they could do and could not do. These modules were aim to improve the ESL students’ reading comprehension skills by providing effective reading strategies, systematic steps, and precise framework for teachers to teach reading comprehension and subsequently help students develop the reading skills for each Performance Band (Band 1 to Band 6). The developed Reading Comprehension Modules will provide continuous opportunity for students to practise with texts of varied genres that are graded according to their reading ability and beyond as suggested by READS Assessment Kit. Each module consists of 3 sections namely; literal, reorganisation, and inferential comprehension questions. 320 Year 10 students from a secondary school sat for the READS test. From the test scores, the students were categorised from Performance Band 1 to Band 6 according to their reading ability. Subsequently, a series of intervention lessons using Reading Comprehension Modules were conducted based on the READS' test feedback to resuscitate and revive the learners’ shortcomings. Results of the post test indicated an increase in students’ overall test scores. According to the results of the post test, there was an increase in students’ test scores and their ability to handle the three reading comprehension skills amicably. The percentage of Year 10 students who meet standard on reading comprehension rose to 32.0% in the post test from 12.7% in the pre test. Consequently, the findings suggest that the deployment of Reading Comprehension Modules has the potentiality in improving students’ reading and comprehension ability. There was an incremental and progressive increased in test scores among the 320 Year 10 students. We believe that with this innovation, the ESL teachers may now add to their daily reading comprehension instruction and testing initiatives can make a difference in the lives of students’ and their reading skills development.
Learning a language involves knowledge of both linguistic competence and cultural competence. Optimal development of linguistic competence and cultural competence, however, requires a high level of acculturation attitude toward the target language culture. To this end, the present study explored the acculturation attitudes of 70 Iranian undergraduate students of English as a Foreign Language, following a one-semester academic sojourn in the United States. The data of the study were collected through a 29-item 5-point Likert scale acculturation attitude questionnaire. Findings indicated that sojourners tended to have close contact with the people of the target society while maintaining their original culture, adopting Integration and Assimilation strategies as their acculturation attitudes. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested providing opportunities for students of English as a Foreign Language to immerse in the target language culture through organizing academic exchange programs.
This article reports the findings of a reading comprehension test (pre-test) consisting of the tri-component skills namely literal, reorganisation and inferential, conducted among students of a public secondary school in the central state of Malaysia. READS (Reading Evaluation and Decoding System) was utilised to capture students' reading ability and comprehension skills and introspectively made sense of students' actual reading ability in terms of what they could and could not do. Precisely, with a standard Reading Matrix table which was previously developed, the English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers were able to tell their students' reading abilities by conveniently referring to the Performance Standards of READS so to ascertain whether their students were at meet standard, below standard, above standard or at academic warning status in terms of the tri-component skills. Subsequently, a series of intervention lessons were developed based on the READS feedback and immediately conducted to resuscitate and revive the learners' shortcomings. Results of the post-test indicated an increase in students' overall test scores. Consequently, the findings suggest that the deployment of READS has the potentiality in improving students' reading and comprehension ability.
The significance of familiarity with and interest in the cultural features of the target language society has been highly recognized. The present study investigated the attitude of Iranian language learners towards the incorporation of cultural components of the target language community into their classroom instructions from affective, cognitive, and behavioral viewpoints. The data were collected through the completion of a 12-item Likert scale attitude questionnaire by 47 Iranian adult intermediate-level learners of English as a foreign language at a language institute in Iran, following a semester-long cultural instructions. The findings suggested that Iranian language learners have overall positive attitudes towards learning about the target language culture and this positive attitude is evident within affective, behavioral, and more significantly cognitive domains. The pedagogical implications of the study suggested integration of target language cultural components into every language classroom instruction.
Familiarity with the cultural features of the target language society and interest in learning those cultural features are the key factors to determine language learners' level of pragmatic comprehension. To investigate this issue, this study attempted to assess the relationship between attitude toward incorporating target language culture into classroom instruction and the development of pragmatic comprehension. The data were collected through the administration of a Likert scale attitude questionnaire and two pragmatic comprehension tests one used as pre-test and the other used as post-test to 32 intermediate level language learners at a language academy in Malaysia. The findings suggested that a positive attitude toward learning target language culture leads to a higher level of pragmatic comprehension. Therefore, it was recommended to furnish foreign language course books as well as foreign language classroom instruction with cultural information.
Individual differences, attitude toward cultural perspectives of the target language community being its most significant aspect, are assumed to play a crucial role in the development of pragmatic competence. To investigate this issue, this study attempted to assess the relationship between integrative attitude and pragmatic comprehension. A multiple choice pragmatic listening test and a Likert-scaled attitude questionnaire were used to collect data from 63 undergraduate students of Teaching English as a Foreign Language at three universities in Iran. The findings suggested that integrative attitude has a significant effect on pragmatic comprehension. Therefore, it was recommended to complement classroom instructions with popular cultural perspectives of the target language community.
Background: Poverty is widely recognised to have a huge impact on the outcome of learning. In many cases, however, the learning environment provided by the particular schools is proven to be able to make a difference in the academic achievement of low-income students. Aims: This study is aimed at the investigation of this function of schools in the domain of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), on the basis of a large data obtained by an ESL reading evaluation from Malaysian secondary schools. Sample: The sample consists of the ESL reading comprehension test results of 3,567 secondary school students. Sampling was done by choosing 47 public secondary schools randomly throughout Penang state of Malaysia. Method: Income equality in education is defined here as the equal attainment of a basic level of the competence according to the curriculum standard, while the impact of income status on academic excellence is excluded from the observation. Based on the above concept, we identified a number of schools in our sample, which proved to be “income equal” in terms of teaching ESL reading skills. Results: By exploring the characteristics of this group of schools, we found that the income and gender composition of the schools, along with the motivation patterns of their students are among the various factors that can make a difference in the impact of income status on academic achievement. Conclusion: While the gender and social composition of a school is usually determined by external conditions out of its scope of authority, the motivation of students undoubtedly provides an opportunity for each and every school to mitigate income inequality, irrespectively of its social, political and financial background.
This paper addresses to assess the students' competency in listening skill at Secondary school level in the English Language focusing on three major content areas: story listening, paragraph listening and listening comprehension. The target population was the male and female students of grade 10 of urban and rural secondary schools from public and private sector. Forty Secondary schools of the District of Bahawalnagar, Pakistan were selected by using stratified sampling. A sample consisting of 440 students (1 1students from each school) was selected randomly. An achievement test consisting of different items namely; story listening, paragraph listening and listening comprehension was developed to assess the students' competency and capability in the listening skill. The audio tape recorder was used to collect the data for the present study. Mean Score and Standard Deviation were applied to analyze the students' proficiency in listening skill for each item. The t-test was applied to make the comparison on the demographic basis of gender, location, as well as public and private sector. The overall performance of all the students was better in paragraph listening as compared to story listening and listening comprehension. The analysis, based on t-value, revealed no significant difference between the performance of male and female students and the students of public and private schools, whereas there was a significant difference between the performance of urban and rural students.
This study aims to evaluate the postgraduate student's level of anxiety towards the English language learning. The intended population for this study was the postgraduate students of the Soegijapranata Catholic University, Semarang, Indonesia and The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan. A sample of three hundred and forty students (170 from each University) was selected randomly. Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) developed by Horwitz et al.  was partially adapted to assess the respondent's anxiety level towards the English language learning. Statistical Package for Social Sciences version XX was used to analyze the data. An independent samples t-test carried out to compare the mean scores of the students. We found that both the Pakistani and Indonesian students have anxiety towards the English language learning. Mean scores of male and Indonesian students were significantly lower than the mean scores of female and the Pakistani students respectively suggesting that the male and the Indonesian students were more different in learning English. Based on findings it can be recommended that the collective efforts of teachers and students can reduce the student's level of anxiety towards the English language learning.
- Aug 2012
- London International Conference on Education, London
Considerable work has been done to determine whether girls or boys are doing better in reading and comprehension. This paper subsequently does not only intend to see the difference between girls and boys but also to gauge the strength and weaknesses of each gender’s potentiality and weaknesses. In essence, this paper carries a two-pronged objective, firstly, to gauge the reading comprehension performance of 3,567 Year 10 secondary students from 47 schools in terms of its criterion reference and secondly, to determine whether girls or boys are doing better in reading comprehension in relation to the tri-component skills namely literal, reorganisation, and inferential. Specifically, a reading comprehension test consists of 10 passages and 60 questions with precise Malaysian curriculum and syllabus related contents were administered to the students for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Test scores were analysed and respective bands assigned were assigned (1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest). Students reading comprehension performance were matched with the Reading Matrix and Descriptors, which was previously developed by the authors, in Reading Evaluation and Decoding System (READS). Overall, we found that girls have a higher achievement in reading comprehension. Girls also performed consistently better compared to boys in literal, inferential, and reorganisation skills. Across the board, girls tend to have better interest and attitude towards reading compared to boys.
This paper shares an initiative conducted in Malaysia in terms of knowledge to gauge students’ Reading Age and to inform teachers of their students’ reading progress and learning. Ensuring teachers understand the needs of students’ reading ability and preparing students to read and comprehend texts are the two most fundamental parallel tasks in today’s classroom setting. Consequently, determining students’ Reading Age has become an important endeavour in recent years by many education authorities throughout the world. This study aims at incorporating the Reading Evaluation and Decoding System (READS), to ascertain students’ Reading Age and comprehension skills at macro and micro levels. This study employed a stratified sample of high school students who were in Secondary 1 through Secondary 5. Data was gathered through a generic standardized reading comprehension developed test. With a precise Reading Matrix, ESL teachers can appraise their students’ reading ability at any level by referring to the Performance Standards to distinguish whether their students are at Meet Reading Age, Below Reading Age or Above Reading Age status. Subsequently, teachers can refer to the Descriptors of Students’ Reading Abilities to find out what the students have achieved so far and what the struggling readers lacked. Accordingly, ESL teachers will be well informed of their students reading ability and accordingly can focus on reading skills development of their students. The ripple effects of READS may enhance students’ reading ability as teachers are now better informed of their students’ reading abilities and thus teachers will be able to prepare reading lessons appropriately according to their students’ reading needs.
An enormous number of problems including scarce financial support, dearth of proficient teachers, outdated curriculum, non-professional approach of stakeholders, lack of facilities, inadequate sources and unorganized programs for Teachers’ Training are impediments in the quality of school education in Pakistan. The teachers in private schools require an organized and well managed system of Teachers’ Training to impart the innovative pedagogical, andragogical, and professional skills and strategies for the improvement of teaching methodologies. The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) Pakistan has taken initiative for Teachers’ Training for private sector schools under public private partnership scheme. PEF is playing its pivotal role in imparting education and Teachers’ Training Programs through Cluster Based Training (CBT), School Leadership Development Program (SLDP) and Teaching in Clusters by Subject Specialists (TICSS). Drawing upon the basic concepts, procedures and philosophy of Teachers’ Training, this paper describes the role and achievements of Punjab Education Foundation regarding Teachers’ Training in the province Punjab, Pakistan. Through documentary analysis, the parameters and mechanism adopted by PEF regarding Teachers’ Training has been examined. Some measures for promoting the quality of teaching through Teachers’ Training at the private sector schools of the country have also been proposed. Key Words: Teachers’ Training Philosophy, Pedagogical, Professional Skills, Punjab Education Foundation, Role, Achievements, Mechanism, Measures.
Recent international comparative research on English proficiency found a strong positive correlation between a country's level of English language skills and its gross national income per capita. Considering the role of English as a lingua franca in the global exchange of goods, culture, information and innovations, a sufficient command of English is a basic requirement for almost the entire labour force in knowledge-based economies. A key foreign language competence is reading, which functions as a gateway to the world, enabling individuals to effectively participate and compete in a knowledge-based environment. Therefore, effectiveness of English as a Second Language (ESL) reading skills is essential to the success of both socio-cultural and economic development. A principal criterion of effectiveness is equal opportunity to the whole society to access formal education and to achieve academic success. In most education systems, however, the social background of students tends to have a major impact on academic achievement, to the extent that it may affect their whole educational and professional careers. The current study is based on empirical data about the reading age of 3,567 Malaysian secondary school students from various social backgrounds, obtained by the use of a standardised evaluation tool named READS. We found that less than half the students had attained the curriculum standard for ESL reading skills, as defined for their biological age. Moreover, significant disparities were found between the reading age of students by gender, income status and ethnicity, highlighting a substantial level of inequality which challenges the establishment of a knowledge-based economy.
From the wisdom of Heraclitus, we believe that change is something inevitable; consequently change for the betterment of students’ reading capacity will do justice for their future social and economic ventures. Moving on into today’s classroom, examining to comprehend students’ reading ability has become an important task to many classroom teachers around the globe. This article examines the tricomponents students’ reading comprehension skills namely literal, reorganisation and inferential. 8475 Year 10 (16 year olds) public school students took a fundamentally constructed pre-test consisting of ten comprehension passages and sixty related tri-component skills questions. Test questions and test scores are introspectively matched with the previously developed Reading Matrix to ascertain students’ reading standards. From the students’ reading achievement, lower achieving students are meticulously categorised at the below standard and academic warning status and systematically profiled to determine their reading and comprehension incapacity at macro and micro levels. It is hoped that this diminutive initiative will bring about change in the life of struggling readers who are reading one or more years below their reading grade level. Accordingly, practicing teachers can now better understand students’ reading capacity from the newly developed profile and knowledgably will have a sound data driven information to assist students’ in their future reading endeavour.
developed and conducted by teachers merely discriminate who among their learners are performing better than the other. These assessments deplorably provide nothing more than norm reference data. Nonetheless, this is the only information that teachers have pertaining to the reading proficiency of their learners. A test score preferably should supply teachers with analytical information of what learners can or cannot do. The test scores should allow teachers to determine where the learners’ position in their reading development. It is long overdue for teachers and those in the education enterprise to take a closer look behind test scores and their learners’ precise abilities. As such, it was felt that a system that not only provides test scores but matches learners’ performance against a benchmark and divulge their precise reading abilities should be developed. This article traces the development of a Reading Evaluation and Decoding System (READS) comprising an Encoder, Analyser and Decoder components. A prototype system was first devised based on the Malaysian school curriculum. Next, a model encoder was developed and piloted on more than three thousand students. Their scores were then used to develop the Analyser. Finally, the Decoder was developed based on data gathered from the respondents. The three components of READS were then calibrated and refined through more tests for accuracy. The study found that READS is a reliable system to evaluate learners’ performance and decode their reading abilities.