According to the CEA Curriculum Standards, pages 9-10 – and these are the current standards. : ……. each curriculum must be responsive to assessed student needs and subject to regular review for possible modification. Good practice includes having a written curriculum that has a logical progression from one level to the next and having a curriculum appropriate for the known needs of a particular group or category of students. Therefore, programs and institutions must document how the needs of the.So, we had to ask ourselves, what do we mean by ASSESSED? And Having a curriculum appropriate for the known needs of a particular group….
It also led us to ask, “Is what we are teaching our students REALLY preparing them for life outside of the intensive English Program? Are we really preparing them for life in that big world of the so-called “Academic Classes” (as if what we are teaching is NON academic! YEESH!) As we were going through the accreditation process and even exploring accreditation…. We realized that our curriculum, in the past, was, in some ways, driven by texts and driven by what WE as teachers and directors believe is what students need. So we were really wondering if there was anything specific…. Were there more specific types of assignments which the CIEP could help prepare students for. Were we missing anything? Again…..The accreditation standards made us think. :”What we have been doing for several years has been working…… but do we have any direct evidence as to what we are doing is actually what the students need?” I recall one brainstorming session about this topic a long time ago… some questions that came up were… Do we need to teach the 5 Paragraph essay?Do we need to teach students how to do a library research paper 7, pages in MLA /APA style.Do we need to teach our students how to give a formal speech with PowerPoint or other visual aids? How much note taking instruction do students need? And etc….. We realized that we didn’t have a straight answers”. We had no direct - no empirical evidence that our curriculum was based on the known needs of our students. We had a lot of experience , training , amazing professional teachers… and the support of a leading MATESOL program. But that was not enough. So, in an effort to review the CIEP’s curriculum and assessment practices, I wanted to find out what was required of students once they were let loose in college classes. In other words, what were UNI professors asking student to do in their courses and were we adequately preparing students for those adornments. The first step was to see what was in the literature… and a quick spin in the popular databases didn’t reveal a lot of information that was specific for EAP. However, what WAS there proved useful.
After a short review of the literature out there… (and there was little on this topic) I found studies by Bikowski and Cooper (2007)Canseco and Byrd (1989)Horowitz (1986) I stuck to these articles as 1)their methodology was shockingly effective and simple and 2) they had done extensive reviews of the literature which left me with little work to do. Bikowski and Cooper (2007) Now, you’re going to say… this is too old!, however, my questions were only about their methodology, not their results. I had no intention of applying their results to UNIs particular situation. What these three studies had in common is that they explored the various types of tasks professors required in university courses. (The titles say it all!) They collected their data by collecting course syllabi from which they kept track of the different types of assignments. They analyzed the types of assignments, and simply let the categories emerge organically from the data. So, that’s what I did.
Method To see what types of assignments UNI professors use to assess students, in June of 2010, 28 syllabi from UNI Liberal Arts Core (LAC) courses were collected from a variety of sources. This is where your wonderful student workers come in handy. Knowing that it was me doing the work, I knew I needed to narrow the scope of the research, so I stayed focused on courses students would be enrolled in immediately after exiting the CIEP. T As a majority of our students are undergraduates, I then further narrowed the scope of the project to analysis of the current UNI Liberal Arts Core (LAC syllabi. . In other words, I simply scrambled to find representative LAC syllabi from lower division courses. Intro to this…. That…. Humanities… College Reading and Writing… These are the types of course that our students would typically take after leaving the CIEP. Then, I followed the spirit of the researchers’ procedure. Collect syllabiLet the categories emergeTake a tally of assignments and how many courses required this type of assignment.
What emerged first were the speaking tasks…. Individual speeches were limited to speech classes and a business course. *represents different sections of oral communication courses☼ participation was varied, no standard as to how Participation is assessed.
Each syllabus was analyzed for the various types of assignments not only in writing, but in areas of speaking, listening. Upon analysis of the results, some patterns emerged: Very few courses required a formal library research paper (7%)Except for oral communication courses, 21% of courses required an oral presentation and 17% required a group oral presentation.61% (17 courses) graded participation in some way.Essays, summaries and reviews were the most common types of writing assignments. (about 30% each)Most exams appear to have both essay and objective questions. All courses had an emphasis on reading texts.Note taking was not discussed in the syllabi per se, but any reader could clearly assume that one was responsible for what was said and discussed in class. In Practical Terms No bad surprises - We were doing a lot of things “right”.Justified choice to limit “speeches” Showed that our writing courses provided a foundation for students to build on.Need to address the variety of small, short writing assignments (review, reflection…)“Critical Thinking”Participation???? Showed a need for further study. The focus on participation and the lack of focus on research writing was surprising and troubling. If so few courses require a formal research paper, then should the CIEP consider its emphasis on the research paper in level 7? Would a survey of academic writing with a focus on citations, plagiarism and different types of assignments be more practical and useful? Regarding participation, the syllabi stressed the importance of participation, but each professor had different ways of assessing participation or may not have disclosed excactly how participation was assessed. Some may find difficult or impossible to support how a participation grade was given. The methods of assessment of participation were very difficult to verify and quantify. In other words, assessment of “participation” seemed to be subjective. Therefore, is there a way to prepare students for this type of situation? This review is VEEEERY very informal.Syllabi from different sections of the same course were included in the sample. (College Reading and Writing, Oral Communication) If you noticed, there was no reading mentioned. All mentioned some type of textbook, but the amount of reading was listed in so many ways, it was impossible to generalize. Some listed chapters, some listed pages, some did not give the actual reading assignments at all in the syllabys. As a result, I simply dropped this from my original repot. On the plus side, the types of texts are easily made available and many of our EAP books use excerpts from actual college texts. Did not survey teachers and students at this point“respondents’ perceptions of what they do may be quite different from what they actually do” (Bikowski and Cooper, 2007)requires IAB permissionadds another possible layer of biaspredict a poor return rate as with many surveysbesides, all this info is already public information and did not require IAB permission
30 syllabi, 2009-2012; Plus 3 non-LAC coursesCat 1: Reserved for freshmen and transfer students; includes Oral Communication, College Reading & Research, First Year CornerstoneCat 2: Also taken by freshmen, though other years do too; Humanities and Non-Western CulturesCat 3: Music, Art, ReligionsCat 4: Hard Sciences: Human OriginsCat 5: Social Sciences: Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, etc.Cat 6: Capstone, usually taken by seniorsResources:Horowitz & Dunworth provided methodology, Canseco & Byrd and Cooper and Bikowski did similar studies but let categories emerge organically
Combine data into spreadsheetStructured categories around our 3 skills-based courses because the purpose of this research was to see if our outcomes were meeting future demands; other items emerged organically
You can see the assigned pages gradually increasesRange of assigned reading: varied by week, among classes1-4 textbooksTextbooks, readers, handbooks, articles, course packets, handouts, Remember this is one class I’m sure you note the wide range. This is one semester lumped together; assigned readings would be shorter at the beginning of the semester or around testing times. Also, there are several sections of one course (e.g. 5 syllabi for Intro to Soc.)
Cat 1:bibliographies; autobiographies; creative stories; persuasive/opinion; reflective; descriptive; peer reviews and evaluations; rhetorical analysis; summariesCat 2:online discussion; 1-page reports of people or events; research paper; comments or discussion of assigned readings; short answer/essays on exams; identification paper Cat 3:written exams (VERY SPARSE!)
Cat 4: short answer or “problem-solving” exams, lab reports, in-class writingCat 5:report; reflection; “papers;” short answer/essay quizzes and exams; take-home essay; in-class writing reflections; journals; reading notes to be used for quizzes; research paper; cross-cultural reflections; worksheets Cat 6: textbook writing assignments; short answer/essay exams; essays; group project proposals and reports; multiple-draft research papers; reviews; reflections; responses; summaries and synthesesNon-Core: ; presentation handouts; 10-page project paper; group project
At least one syllabus from each core category mentioned there being “lectures” Take away: not a lot of speaking going on as freshman and sophomoresA lot more talking as seniors and major-core classes
Inconsistently assessed; not clear on syllabi; you shouldn’t evaluate a behavior (Which is generally NOT in line with accreditation standards) – it’s more a class management technique Just give the facts!!
Why don’t they assign more writing? Why they there so few formal speeches? What do they mean by “participation?” Survey to gather data, interviews to further support/explain dataNon-accreditation reasons: inter-dept. rapport-building, commiseration about certain administrative/admission practices
“19 faculty members, 5 months, 3 not interviewed, 2 gave data for both undergrad and grad, some taught LAC coursessent survey before interview (if interviewed), Interviews were 30min-1hr.qual & quant. Data” move on!Bridgeman & Carlson: ranking lists of assigned tasksHorowitz: sent out surveys (750 send, 38 responses) mix of qual. & quant. (2 criticisms of surveys: 1:open to question if data reflects what faculty does, what they think they do, and what researcher wants them to think they do; 2: forced and arbitrary classifications) let syllabi categories fall organically, categorized survey by our classes
Based quantitative data around our 3 skills-based courses (#3-6)I liked the generalizable questions 2, 7.7 yielded many interesting insights which I’ll share at the end.
3 categories like this to match our curriculum
Removed responses from graduate level faculty; we do have some IEP students go into graduate, but most go into freshman level
Questions related to quant. Data, more input or developed answers. Didn’t always ask the same questions, let interview grow from survey responses and what came up in the interview
The overall reported average of reading load assigned in 2.76, closer to the range of 25-40 textbook or article pages a week. If this number were multiplied by 5, which is the average number of classes taken by a freshmen in a semester, students would be expected to read around 125-200 pages a week, which is a heavy workload indeed, and more than is demanded in the CIEP. The reported reading assignments for Economics, Mathematics, and Art were very low, at the 1.25 range (10 pages or less a week). The reported reading assignments for some faculty in the Arts and Sciences, Industrial Technology, and Psychology were relatively high, with an average of 3.3, closer to 40-45 pages per week.
Most courses require at least one textbook. Some, such as History, Humanities, and Religion and Philosophy, had multiple assigned texts. Religion and Philosophy had an assigned course packet. Industrial Technology assigned case studies and technical lab reports. The highest reported assignments were upwards of 100 pages in the Industrial Technology department.Interestingly, several faculty members acknowledged having culture specific concepts in their texts that occasionally proved to be challenging for internationals, especially non-Westerners. Mathematics had financial interest, art had Christianity and Christian art, and music had Western music history.Art and Biology reported that the textbook has specialized terminology that all learners struggle with. Internationals need help with specialized vocabulary, a few faculty reported.The high reported reading assignments lends to the idea that CIEP is not preparing students for this. Faculties in math and economics reported both American and international students encountering problems when reading homework or test items and not being clear on what the item was requiring them to do. Mathematics faculty reported that international students have problems interpreting application problems on assignments, and that it was likely the wording on the problems that confused them.
Reported writing assignments remained relatively low at an average 2.23, (2 equals about zero to one written assignments a week)
Non-process = not multi-drafts. Rhetorical styles: analysis, description, opinion, study guides, lab reports, research papers, etc. This lower writing assignment has one possible explanation at the undergraduate level; instructors who teach LAC classes can have well over one hundred students. If an instructor has a high number of students, it is an ineffective use of time to demand (and subsequently have to grade) a substantial amount of writing assignments. Need and lack of research paper ability: of the instructors who asked for a research paper, most noted lack of ability in both int’l and domestic students. There are issues on in-class writing of international students in regards to grammar or using Google Translate.
Mean 2-9 (3=15-30 min/week)Biology and Physics had more time devoted to spoken interaction in laboratory settings. Psychology faculty reported minimal group discussion, with some students choosing not to speak at all. (“work with your neighbor…”)Oral Communication and History were the only undergraduate courses reporting oral presentation assignments. International students have low confidence levels when giving oral presentations.
Participation is graded, but faculty members have varying expectations of this. Some defined this as “showing up, taking notes, looking attentive, and sometimes asking or answering questions, not texting, not sleeping, etc.”
Follow textbookEconomics, HEPLS, Humanities, Art, Mathematics, Psychology, and Religion and Philosophy – all LAC courses – are usually taught in traditional lecture style, with little opportunity for spoken interaction. There are usually over 100 students, and while relevant questions from students are accepted, rarely do students interact in class. One Economics professor said there is simply “too much material to cover to waste time with talking.”
Behavior and cultural knowledge
Needs either identified in syllabi and surveys, or extrapolated from interviewsAbility to conduct research – but not often!College-level reading and writing skills
Assign more reading across curriculum and in coursesUse textbooks that utilize the Academic Word List (AWL)add “ability to read instructions” to outcomesquestions that require problem-solving or application of conceptsAdd cited research to earlier levels
Instruct on presentation skillsReplace speaking activities in higher levels with teacher- or lecture-centered instructionLimit instruction of speech acts in higher levels
Increase frequency and difficulty of listening assessmentsUtilize online technology for recordings
Instructors need to take a direct approach to explaining cultural expectations own learning, course material, and outside experiencesCarrier content in classes that teaches general-education concepts
Building a Needs-Based Curriculum from University Syllabi Thomas Riedmiller & Lauren Rein Culture and Intensive English Program University of Northern Iowa
Culture and Intensive English Program• Our Mission Statement“…to provide International Students withquality intensive academic Englishlanguage instruction and a culturalorientation to the United States inpreparation for study at the Universityof Northern Iowa or other institution ofhigher learning.”
CEA Curriculum StandardsAccording to the CEA Curriculum Standards, pages 9-10:• ……. each curriculum must be responsive to assessed student needs and subject to regular review for possible modification.• Good practice includes …. having a curriculum appropriate for the known needs of a particular group or category of students. Therefore, programs and institutions must document how the needs of the student population(s) sought, enrolled, and graduated from the program were assessed and established and how the curriculum is designed to meet those needs.
Questions…• Is what we are teaching our students REALLY preparing them for life outside of the intensive English Program?• Is our curriculum appropriate for our students?• Are we really preparing them for the tasks required of them in the university?
Review of the LiteratureCanseco, G. and P. Byrd. (1989). Writing required in graduate courses in business administration. TESOL Quarterly, 23(2), 305-316.Cooper, A. and D. Bikowski. (2007). Writing at the graduate level: What tasks do professors actually require? Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 6, 206-211.Dunworth, K. (2008). A task-based analysis of undergraduate assessment: A tool for the EAP practitioner. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 315-323.Horowitz, D. (1986). What professors actually require: academic tasks for the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 20(3), 445-462.
MethodNarrowed the Scope• focused on UNI Liberal Arts Core (“LAC,” gen. ed.) and lower division courses across LAC spectrumCollected 28 LAC Syllabi• Sources: websites, professors, undergraduate student workers • Scan the collection • Let categories “emerge” (Canseco & Byrd, 1989) • Tally different types of assignments • Note: No permission needed!
Results: Speaking TasksType of assessment Occurrences individual speech 5/28* group presentation/speech 6/28* participation ☼ 17/28 group project 4 /28
OccurrencesWriting Tasks: Type of assessmentWriting Results: Tasks combination essay/objective exam 12 objective only 10 summary 9 essay 8 review 8 no written assignments 7 annotated bibliography 6 outline 3 reflection 3 formal research paper of 3 pp. + 2 analysis 1 essay only exams 1 reaction paper 1 journal 1 peer assessment 1 scenario 1 online discussion 1 field report 1
Syllabi Review: Reading Textbook Assignments Other Reading AssignmentsCategory 1 10-85pp per week 10pp per weekR&W, Oral Comm. in 1-3 textbooks in 1 handbook or readerCategory 2 20-80pp per week 20-100pp per weekHumanities in 1-4 textbooks in 1-3 readers (in 1-4 weeks)Category 3 20-60pp per week XMusic, Art, Religion in 1-2 textbooksCategory 4 15-125 pp per week XPhysical Sciences in 1-3 textbooksCategory 5 20-200pp per week 10-15pp articlesSocial Sciences in 1-4 textbooks 40-160pp in 1-3 readers in 3 weeksCategory 6 30-100pp per week 50-300pp biweekly in 8 readersCapstone in 1 textbook 10-40 pp per week in 2-4 articles
Syllabi Review: Writing Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 (Freshman Comp.) (Humanities) (Art, Religion, Music)- Speeches (6) - Reflective/react -Current events - Short answer/essay- Peer speech ion essay report (5) exams (3-4) evaluations (6) - Research paper -Exams: short- Persuasive - Rhetorical answer/essay (3) essays (2) analysis -Comments on- Bibliography - Summary reading assignments- Descriptive -Online discussions paper -Identification paper -Research paper
Syllabi Review: Writing Category 4 Category 5 Category 6 Non-Core Physical Sciences Social Sciences Capstone-exams: short -Quizzes: short -Response papers (5) -Articleanswer/”problem answer/essay (6-8) -Essays (2, 700 critiques (2)-solving” (4-5) -Take-home essays (4) words) -Group-In-class writing -Internet assignments (3) -Exams: short project-Lab reports -Exams: short answer/ answer/essay (2) -Presentation(biweekly) essay (2-3) -Assignments from handout -Paper (1-2) textbook -Project paper -Fieldwork assignment -Group project (10pp) -In-class writing proposal and report reflections -Research paper -Book report (multi-draft, 2500 -Reading notes words) -Reflection paper -Synthesis paper -Research paper -Video review -Worksheets
Syllabi Review: SpeakingSpeaking Category 1: Category 2: Category 3: Category 4: Category 5: Category 6: Non-LAC• Speaking X Core Humanities Arts, Rel., Phil. Phys. Sci. Soc. Sci. CapAssignments1Class participation2 X X X X XClass discussion X X X X X X XGroup work/activities3 X X X XIndividual X X X Xpresentation/speechSmall group activities3 X X X XIn-class activities3 X X XIn-group reports X XDiscussion leadings X XTeam/group project XGroup presentation X X X1. As explicitly stated in syllabi or implied though assignments; not necessarily stated in ALL syllabi for this category2. Class participation, as explicitly stated or as part of grade.3. “Group work/activities,” “Small group activities,” and “In-class activities” are all very similar sounding; this is how they are stated in the syllabi.
Syllabi Review: Assessment• “Participation” grade• Multiple choice and True/False exams• Few exams (2-4 per semester) – Many courses relied ONLY on these exam grades for the final grade
So why do surveys?• Horowitz, 1986; Bridgeman & Carlson, 1984; Huang, 2010• More questions• Interdepartmental relationships
Faculty Interviews • Biology Department• 19 faculty members surveyed from • Department of Art 13 academic departments • Department of Communication Studies• Undergraduate & graduate level • • Department of Economics Department of History instructors • Department of Industrial Technology • Department of Mathematics• Conducted February-June 2012 • Department of Physics • Department of Philosophy and World• Sent short survey before interview Religions • Department of Psychology• Quantitative & qualitative data • Humanities • School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services (HEPLS) • School of Music Note: no board review needed for in-house research.
Faculty Interviews• Questionnaire: Name: Courses Taught: 1. Do you have international students in your classes? If so, which nationalities? 2. In general, what do you expect your students to be able to do before they come to your class? 3. How much weekly reading do you assign? 4. How much writing do you assign each week? 5. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most, how much weekly class time do you dedicate to speaking activities? 6. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best in the class, how would you rate the academic skills of international students? 7. What issues have you seen due to international students, either in your class or on campus?
Faculty Interviews: QuantitativeA. How much weekly reading B. How much writing do you C. How much weekly classdo you assign? assign each week? time do you dedicate to speaking activities?1 = 10pp. or less 1 = In-class writing only 1= Minimal time2 = 10-25 pp. 2 = 0 or 1 assignment 2 = 5-15 min3 = 25-40 pp. 3 = 2 assignments 3= 15-30 min4 = 40-55 pp. 4 = 3 assignments 4= 30-45 min5 =55 or more pp. 5 = 4 or more 5= More than 45 min assignments
Faculty Interviews: QualitativeA. Reading B. Writing C. Speaking OtherWhat types of What types of What speech acts How do youreading texts do writing do you must the students assess students?you assign? assign? do? Do you haveCan you identify What is the What does “class issues ofareas of difficulty required length of participation” plagiarism orin the reading? the writing? mean? cheating? Do you allow Do you do What issues have multiple drafts? anything to you seen integrate your regarding students? international students?
Faculty Interviews: Lectures & Note-Taking• High reported amount of lecturing – Economics, Humanities, Art, Mathematics, Religion and Philosophy: traditional lecture style“too much material to cover to waste time with talking” – Economics professor
Faculty InterviewsIn general, what do you expect your students to be able to do before they come to your class? – “Understand English to be able to understand my lectures…be able to do research, write presentations, give presentations in front of the class and take quizzes/exams over the chapters in the textbook” – To be able to understand simple written and verbal instructions (i.e. syllabus)…they should be able to express general ideas in a clear manner – Coherent writing skills” – College-level vocabulary – Ability to read, hear, and understand directions – Read assignments carefully and think about them
Faculty InterviewsIn general, what do you expect your students to be able to do before they come to your class? – A knowledge of Western history, classical history, and Christianity – Ability to find their own resources – Readiness and willingness to contribute to class discussions – Confidence and knowledge to go for help from the instructor – Basic understanding of math skills through Algebra I – Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, time management, basic computer skills
What are students expected to do?• A LOT of reading• A variety of non-process writing tasks• Multiple-choice and short answer/essay exams• Not a lot of informal speaking as freshman and sophomores• Oral presentations• Taking good notes• Going for help when needed
What skills do students need?• Ability to handle a heavy reading load• Writing short answer/essays or short papers• Finding and citing resources• Giving presentations• Listening to lectures and taking notes• Taking pro-active measures for own learning• Western/US history knowledge
• How do we meet these needs in our curriculum?
Changes to Outcomes: Reading• More reading• Academic Word List (AWL)• “comprehends and follows written and oral instructions”• Problem-solving or application of concepts• Cited research
Changes to Outcomes: Writing• Reduce number of longer writing assignments• Include short, non-process writing assignments in higher levels (e.g. review, critique, response, reflection…)• Keep research paper but reduce length
Changes to Outcomes: Speaking• Presentations• Lectures• Speech acts
Changes to Outcomes: Note-Taking Listening assessments Online technology
Changes to Outcomes: Assessments• Reduce number of assessments at higher levels• Consider eliminating exams• Include written assessments on tests
Changes to Outcomes: Non-Language • Directly explaining cultural expectations • Self-reflection • Carrier content
Faculty Interview• What issues have you seen due to international students, either in your class or on campus? – Willingness to participate/integrate – “Heads up” to professors
ReferencesBridgeman, B., & Carlson, S. B. (1984). Survey of academic writing tasks. Written Communication, 1(2), 247-280.Canseco, G. and P. Byrd. (1989). Writing required in graduate courses in business administration. TESOL Quarterly, 23(2), 305-316.Cooper, A. and D. Bikowski. (2007). Writing at the graduate level: What tasks do professors actually require? Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 6, 206-211.Dunworth, K. (2008). A task-based analysis of undergraduate assessment: A tool for the EAP practitioner. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 315-323.Horowitz, D. (1986). What professors actually require: academic tasks for the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 20(3), 445-462.Huang, L. (2010). Seeing eye to eye? he academic writing needs of graduate and undergraduate students from students and instructors perspectives Language Teaching Research. 14(4), 517-539.