FELTE QUARTERLY                      ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012           Faculty of English Language Teacher Education   Uni...
Felte                 Quarterly                                                                      ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 20...
Table of Contents   Editors’ Notes...........................................................................................
Editors’   Editors Notes        November 20th is probably the most delightful day to educators in Vietnam as   they are sh...
FELTE Rhythm                                    The “Project 2020”                                           Nguyen Thi Ng...
FELTE Rhythm     The 14th AUN actual quality assessment at program       level for Fast-track Bachelor of Arts in English ...
FELTE Rhythm                             IELTS ORAL EXAMINER                         TRAINING WORKSHOP 2012               ...
FELTE Rhythm   Lexical Resource: This refers to how much vocabulary the candidate has and how well they use it            ...
FELTE FacesMs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh, a multitasking leader                                 Quick facts:                  ...
FELTE Faces          special love for the natural beauty there.             which there was no intervention to the        ...
FELTE Faces                                                            three years we will successfully reach the     “Lea...
BEEN THERE DONE THAT   Having recently taken a course? Gone on a trip? Done something interesting? Met new   people? In th...
BEEN THERE DONE THAT   Tran Hoai Giang & Ngo Xuan Minh                Tran Hoai Giang and Ngo Xuan Minh have been teaching...
Feature Article   An investigation into Vietnamese tertiary ELT teachers’ needs in the   emergence of modern assessment pa...
Feature Article   examinations and assessment were standardized and produced highly consistent results.   Today, holistic ...
Feature Article   In summary, each period in the global writing assessment history has been dominated by   particular assu...
Feature Article   As stated, the writing assessment instrument for second year English-majored students at   ULIS-VNU is a...
Feature Article   Interviews - a regularly applied method in L2 research - were chosen as the instrument for this   data c...
Feature Article   transcriptions were sent back to the teacher participants for an accuracy check. By providing   specific...
Feature Article   withdrew the idea. “I think the scales cover all the contents in the writing course….One thing I   want ...
Feature Article   students in the highest or lowest levels amounted to “only 10-20%” or “just a little”. Raters   seemed t...
Feature Article   discovered the right method to score with an analytical instrument, which is to make holistic   judgment...
Feature Article   In short, question 3 illuminates the needs of raters in understanding how to merge the   criterion-refer...
Feature Article   to do assessment... Second, the students must know that they are going to be assessed in this   way and ...
Feature Article   Most raters named time burden as the most serious disadvantage of the new assessment   practice for port...
Feature Article                              Figure 1. Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of the Instruments   In general, t...
Review                               Second language learning theories                               Mitchell, R. & Myles,...
Review   introductory survey of the most significant theories and perspectives in the field of SLA for a   wide range of a...
TEACHING IN FOCUS   A guideline for teaching pronunciation   Khoa Anh Viet                   Mr. Khoa Anh Viet is the Vice...
Call for Contribution   Editorial Board        FELTE      Quarterly (FQ) is a journal of, for and by FELTE teachers to rep...
FELTE           QUARTERLY                         ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012        Faculty of English Language Teacher Educa...
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An e-journal created by & for Faculty of English Language Teacher Education Staff, University of Languages & International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi

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FELTE QUARTERLY ISSUE 3

  1. 1. FELTE QUARTERLY ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 Faculty of English Language Teacher Education University of Languages and International Studies, VNU For internal circulation only
  2. 2. Felte Quarterly ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 Faculty of English Language Teacher Education University of Languages and International Studies, VNU For internal circulation only Editors Mr. Ngô Xuân Minh (Division II) Ms. Trần Hoài Giang (Division II) Layout Editor Ms. Trần Hoài Giang (Division II) Editorial Advisory Board Ms. Trần Hoài Phương, FELTE Dean Ms. Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Quỳnh, FELTE Vice Dean Mr. Khoa Anh Việt, FELTE Vice Dean☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012
  3. 3. Table of Contents Editors’ Notes............................................................................................... 4 FELTE Rhythm The “Project 2020” Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh ............................................................................... 5 The 14th AUN actual quality assessment at program level for Fast-track Bachelor of Arts in English Teacher Education Nguyen Nhue Giang ...................................................................................... 6 IELTS Oral examiner training workshop 2012 Nguyen Tuan Anh .......................................................................................... 7 FELTE Faces Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh, a multitasking leader Tran Hoai Giang & Ngo Xuan Minh ............................................................... 9 Been there done that Vu Thi Kim Chi & Do Hanh Chi ...................................................................... 12 Tran Hoai Giang & Ngo Xuan Minh ............................................................... 13 Feature Article An investigation into Vietnamese tertiary ELT teachers’ needs in the emergence of modern assessment paradigm Duong Thu Mai ............................................................................................. 14 Review Mitchell, R. & Myles, F. (2004). Second language learning theories. London: Hodder Arnold University Press. Luong Huong Thao ........................................................................................ 27 Teaching in Focus A guideline for teaching pronunciation Khoa Anh Viet ................................................................................................ 29 Call for Contribution .................................................................................. 30☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012
  4. 4. Editors’ Editors Notes November 20th is probably the most delightful day to educators in Vietnam as they are showered with wishes, flowers and gifts from their beloved students, friends and families. On this pivotal occasion, FELTE Quarterly would like to extend its acknowledgement to all teachers, particularly those in the FELTE family, for their devotion and commitment to the noble teaching career. To kick-start this third issue, FELTE Rhythm presents an authoritative update on the National Foreign Languages Project 2020 by a faculty leader, a briefing on the outcome of the AUN project by an insider, and a report on a critical examiner training workshop by its key trainer. In FELTE Faces, the reader will get to know better Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh (FELTE Vice- Dean) as she confides her personal secrets and philosophies. As in the previous issue, “Been there, Done that” will provide a snapshot of FELTE teachers’ experience at ELT conferences. The two events of this time, Cam TESOL 2012 & SEAMEO TESOL 2012, will be of special interest to early-career lecturers who are seeking approachable and affordable professional development opportunities. The feature article of the issue is a research report by Dr. Duong Thu Mai, narrating her attempt to foster more reliable and valid assessment of writing which so far has been subject to teachers’ impression. In Material Review, Ms. Luong Huong Thao, a new M.A. graduate from University of Queensland, introduces a “comprehensive and current” read on Second Language Acquisition (SLA), a possibly novel subject to FELTE staff, yet increasingly viewed worldwide as a prerequisite for TESOL practice. The issue concludes with a concise introduction by Mr. Khoa Anh Viet, FELTE Vice-Dean to his booklet on teaching pronunciation. Drawn from his research and personal experience, this will prove handy for teachers wishing to incorporate more pronunciation in their classrooms, yet in need of more guidance. Hopefully, FQ readers will take delight in and derive more knowledge from this issue, and then contribute to the forthcoming one. (Please refer to the last page of the journal for a detailed contribution guideline.) F.Q. Editorial Board☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 4
  5. 5. FELTE Rhythm The “Project 2020” Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh For further information regarding Ms. Nguyen, please go to p.9 A large-scale education reform, widely Besides, ULIS has completed two training known as the ‘Project 2020’, was launched by the courses in English proficiency and teaching Ministry of Education and Training in 2008. This methodology for primary and lower secondary project is aimed at radically innovating the teachers in May and August, 2012. In July, it was teaching and learning of foreign languages, of commissioned by the Project to develop a which English covers 98%, at all levels of the national ELT methodology curriculum for lower- national education system in order to ensure that secondary school teachers. This mission was Vietnamese school leavers by 2020 will become successfully undertaken by the FELTE. ‘independent users’ of a foreign language. As an In addition, a number of FELTE teachers are ambitious project, it covers a wide range of participating in several other on-going activities issues in foreign language education including of the Project 2020 including the development curriculum development and design, assessment, and management of the national English test item teaching qualification standards, teacher training, bank. and quality assurance. However, one of the first and most crucial steps is to train and retrain Our commitment teachers of English at all levels of education so The whole university and particularly the that they reach the required standards of B2 level FELTE have been committed to high-quality according to the Common European Framework fulfillment of the Project 2020 objectives. Despite of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Here is where the limited human resource, time constraints, ULIS, particularly our FELTE, takes an important and heavy multi-task workload, FELTE has part in. actively participated in the assessment as well as Our role the intensive teacher training during the last few summer months. Its teachers have been As the leading language teacher education appraised by partners for reliable and valid institutions in Viet Nam, ULIS has been a key assessment of their teachers’ proficiency as well participant in the project. It is one of seven as their quality and dedicated teaching. In fact, tertiary institutions nationwide authorized to activities related to this Project have been assess teachers’ foreign language proficiency identified as new strategic functions of ULIS in according to the CEFR and indeed the most active general and the FELTE in particular. We all one in the North of Vietnam. By far, our understand that this is how we maintain and institution has administered tests at sixteen promote our reputation and status as a leading provinces in the North of Viet Nam with the active language teacher education institution in Viet participation of FELTE teachers throughout the Nam. process.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 5
  6. 6. FELTE Rhythm The 14th AUN actual quality assessment at program level for Fast-track Bachelor of Arts in English Teacher Education. Nguyen Nhue Giang Graduated from the Fast-track program in 2011, Nguyen Nhue Giang now teaches proficiency courses for students of the same program at FELTE. As one of the key members in AUN project, Giang collected documented evidence for the self-evaluation report as well as joined in the task force in the actual assessment. Hanoi – 3-5 May 2012. ULIS had the honor to welcome the assessors of the 14th AUN actual quality assessment at program level for Fast-track Bachelor of Arts in English Language Teacher Education. This event has long been expected after one year of hard work and preparation by the AUN task force of FELTE. In only three days, the assessors undertook tremendous amount of work including reviewing the self- evaluation report of the program, interviewing teachers, students and other stakeholders of the program, visiting important campus sites, and finally writing up a report and preparing the presentation for the closing session of the assessment. They often finished their work very late in the afternoon and even brought some documents to their hotel for evening work. Fortunately, the assessors were fully supported by the AUN task force led by Ms. Vu Tuong Vi, Head of the Fast-track Division and FELTE Managerial Board. Despite some points for improvement, the program received commendable results with the overall score of 4.4, which exceeded the point of qualification. The evaluation findings were briefly presented in the closing session and fully outlined in the final report received after approximately one month. The Fast- track Division is now working hard on a plan for improvement. The AUN actual quality assessment at program level in ULIS can be considered a milestone, marking the very first success in ULIS’s efforts to reach the international standards. Prof. Nguyen Hoa, ULIS’s President, has expressed his deep appreciation of all the teachers, students and staff that have contributed to the achievement of the Fast-track program as well as to the AUN project.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 6
  7. 7. FELTE Rhythm IELTS ORAL EXAMINER TRAINING WORKSHOP 2012 Nguyen Tuan Anh Anh Tuan Nguyen has an MA in English Language Teaching from De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines. He is currently a lecturer in English at Faculty of English Language Teacher Education, University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University-Hanoi. He is also involved in mentoring and professional development programmes at his faculty. His research interests include EFL assessment, TESOL methodology, discourse analysis and second language acquisition. Despite the fact that most FELTE teachers are familiar with the IELTS Speaking Test and have extensive experience in examining students in end-term speaking tests, few of them have received adequate training in the area. In an attempt to enhance the quality of assessment in oral tests at FELTE in general and in IELTS-format speaking tests in particular, an intensive workshop dedicated to FELTE teachers was organized in May, 2012. For the first time at FELTE, our teachers had an opportunity to explore how the IELTS speaking test is scored, to analyze what lies behind the IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors, and to apply the gained knowledge to sample test situations. The training workshop includes two sessions as follows: 1. An overview of IELTS Speaking A. Morning session 2. An analysis of IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors 3. IELTS Speaking Test Scripts 4. IELTS Speaking Test Sample Rating 5. Group Practice on 3rd-year students B. Afternoon sesison 6. Final remarks One of this workshop’s strengths is that the invited trainers are experienced IELTS teachers with excellent IELTS grades in actual tests. More importantly, the trainers have undergone training sessions on PET or FCE with Cambridge ESOL assessment experts. Another good point is that in the afternoon session, FELTE teachers worked in groups, acting as IELTS oral examiners to evaluate the performances of third-year students with a set of authentic IELTS speaking test scripts. During this practice session, teachers were encouraged to change partners frequently so that they would have a better chance to share their views and improve their inter-rater reliability based on the following assessment criteria: Fluency and Coherence: This refers to how good the candidate is at keeping talking at the right speed and how good they are at connecting their ideas together. This is a fairly general criterion which includes evaluating the relevance of the candidates answers, but in terms of the elements identified above, speakers need to be able to understand and follow the rules of language at a word, sentence and text level level.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 7
  8. 8. FELTE Rhythm Lexical Resource: This refers to how much vocabulary the candidate has and how well they use it it. As well as the rules of language at a word level, this criterion considers the communicative functions of speech and the social meaning of speech. speech Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This refers to how many structures the candidate has and how well they use them. Again, as well as the rules of language, this criterion considers the communicative functions of speech speech. Pronunciation: This refers to how well the candidate pronounces the language. As well as considering the communicative effect of the candidates pronunciation, there is evaluation of how much strain it causes on a listener and how noticeable their listener, accent is - although accent itself is not a problem. In terms of the elements we have identified above, this criterion refers to speakers’ need to be able to produce the phonological features of speech. The success of the workshop is believed to contribute to realizing FELTE teachers’ desire for professional development to reach the international standard in English language education. The workshop format can be a good example for other faculties in building professional development activities for the purpose of making ULIS a leading language education institution in Vietnam.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 8
  9. 9. FELTE FacesMs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh, a multitasking leader Quick facts: • Full name: Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh • Positions held: Director of the Center for Distance Education and Teacher Development; Vice Dean of the Faculty of English Language Teacher Education • Research interests: Second Language Acquisition, Bilingualism, Bilingual Education “To be a leader, one • Hobbies: Reading online newspapers and playing chess should be multitasking” FELTE Quarterly Editors (FQE): Thank you, Dr. (FQE chosen to do a job, I will devote my time and Quynh for attending our interview today. energy to completing it with the best possible quality. However, I am rather Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh (M.Q): My pleasure. stubborn, and will not change my mind FQE: Would you please disclose three personal easily. pieces of information that may be new to our staff members? “family and friends would come first in M.Q.: Maybe the first important piece of information is that I am not a PhD holder my agenda” yet, so please do not call me Dr. Quynh. I am FQE: Recently you have completed your Ph.D still waiting for my PhD thesis examination program in Melbourne, Australia. Would you results. The examination normally takes a mind sharing with us more information few months in Australia after the about your study? submission. The second piece of information about me is that I am a fun-loving person,M.Q.: I spent more than four years completing though I may look serious sometimes! All my my PhD program. It may be surprising to close friends can tell you that. The third, some people that half of my time was spent well, is that although I am leading a very in Australia and half in Vietnam. What is busy working life, ‘workaholic’, as what more, my research was related not to English some colleagues are calling me, is not my language teaching and learning but to type. If I had any chance to choose, family Vietnamese acquisition of Hmong ethnic and friends would come first in my agenda. minority children. FQE: Could you please use three adjectives to FQE: How did you come up with such an original describe your personality? topic? M.Q.: Well, I often perceive myself as decisive M.Q.: You know, luck and personal interest played an important part. It all started with since I can make up my mind very quickly my hobby, photography. I love taking even on challenging issues. Besides, I am landscape photos, so I used to travel to the dedicated. I mean whenever I have North of Vietnam several times and have☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 9
  10. 10. FELTE Faces special love for the natural beauty there. which there was no intervention to the There besides the awe-inspiring scenery, I teaching and learning process in any way. got to know really well ethnic minority kids With this research design, I could not predict and their difficulties in learning Vietnamese beforehand where I was led to in the as a second language. Interestingly, my PhD research process. In fact, halfway in the supervisor in Australia is a leading expert on candidature, I had to change my research bilingual education for indigenous people; design and simply collect a total different set hence, she shared my great interest in of data. Hmong group in Vietnam and after thorough FQE: Lots of FELTE teachers intend to upgrade QE discussion I finally decided on the above their qualifications in Australia. What pieces mentioned research topic. of advice do you give them especially regarding scholarship application and course“I will devote my time and energy to selection?completing it with the best possible quality” M.Q.: My advice for scholarship application would be to grasp any opportunity that FQE: Did you face any problems during your comes to you. My own story is an example. I study? decided to pursue a PhD degree when the M.Q.: My research was conducted in a quite deadline for submission of an Australian special setting that my supervisor termed as Leadership Awards scholarship had been ‘laboratory-like’. To collect the data, I had to over. However, I was not at all discouraged travel to the top of a mountain every and went on to apply for the Melbourne fortnight during a year and stay with isolated University scholarships. You know, many Hmong children so that I could find out how roads lead to Rome. Take one and head they learnt Vietnamese as a second there. language. So one challenge I had to face was Regarding the choice of courses, I would say indeed the travel itself. After a train, we are in great need of experts on teacher followed by a bus and a motorbike taxi, I professional development and curriculum would have to walk to the school to reach design. Also, bilingual education is a the children because there was simply no potential, yet unexplored area in Vietnam. direct road to that site. The road up to the mountain was bumpy, and there was always a danger of landslide and flash flood “Grasp any opportunity that comes to you” whenever it rained. I still remember once FQE: You currently take two management when I got stuck in the mountain for 10 days positions. How do you manage so well to without electricity due to a flood. Another fulfill all your duties? problem was that I worked with minority people who were very shy and did not speak M.Q.: To be a leader, one should be multi- much. Therefore, it was hard to predict the tasking; I mean the ability to do many volume of language they would produce things at the same time. Therefore, I’m since I recorded them in natural settings. It trying to adjust myself to this kind of job. took me quite some time to get myself Still, I am in the process of discovering my familiarized to the kids before I could start own capacity so that I can fulfill all the the data collection. And the biggest missions I’m assigned to. Indeed leadership challenge was the nature of my research. I is now my adventure. started out with an exploratory research in ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 10
  11. 11. FELTE Faces three years we will successfully reach the “Leadership is now my adventure” destination. By the end of this year, we will have completed the proficiency subjects and FQE: Quite a few FELTE teachers are concerned started developing contextual and additional about the dramatic changes in our faculty subjects. By the end of next year, we will lately. On behalf of the management board, have finished revising the proficiency could you please clarify the directions of our subjects for the first time, and will have faculty in the near future, say the next five finalized the contextual and additional years? subject syllabi. Then we will need around M.Q.: “Adventure” can be used to describe both one more year to pilot and make necessary my work and FELTE. There have recently amendments to the whole curriculum. been lots of remarkable changes in the FQE: We guess the faculty staff will be glad to management positions, staff members and hear about this. Thank you, Ms. Quynh for the new missions (most importantly the sharing with us such interesting and useful Project 2020). I imagine the whole faculty as information about your life and career. On a four-wheel drive car, utilizing all our behalf of the FELTE Quarterly, we wish you energy to venture off the beaten track. We health, happiness and success in all your are experimenting with the integrated personal and professional pursuits. methodology in language skill subjects and M.Q.: Thank you for introducing me to FELTE simultaneously preparing an array of new Quarterly readers. subjects. However, we should not be alarmed and it is my belief that in two or “It is my belief that in two or three years we will successfully reach the destination.”☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 11
  12. 12. BEEN THERE DONE THAT Having recently taken a course? Gone on a trip? Done something interesting? Met new people? In this space of each issue of FELTE Quarterly we post a question for you to share your experience and to learn about, and from, our colleagues. Do Hanh Chi & Vu Thi Kim Chi Hanh Chi is currently teaching in Division Kim Chi is an English lecturer of English skills 3. Her research interest is of English skills 2. She had one in Task-based Language Teaching and year studying in the US in Teaching English to Young Learners. 2009-2010. 8th CamTESOL Conference, Phnom Penh - “Language and Development” The four-day trip to Cambodia was an eye- opening experience to both of us, not just because of the knowledge we picked at the conference but also because of the discovery of Cambodia we never expected we would have. The conference offered a lot of workshops in different fields of language teaching, some of which were by famous speakers in TESOL. One workshop we found worth attending was “Introducing humour into the ELF classroom” done by a humourous-but-deny-to-be teacher. Thanks to him, we have got some creative and FELTE teachers with Professor Jack C. Richard useful suggestions to integrate humour into the lessons. The last session about teacher education which was spoken by Jack Richard, one recognized scholar in ELT field made a deep impression on us both and evoked much thinking. What has been bearing in my mind since his speech is the concept of “take-away values” which is what learners can get and remember after each lesson Cambodia was much more than our reach of imagination. The country is peaceful and surprisingly resembles Vietnam in many ways. We actually did not feel that we were being in a foreign country, but rather in the South of Vietnam. Impressed me the most was the people here who are hospitable and spontaneous in English speaking, both in capital Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the land of Angor Wat. The seven-hour coach to Siem Reap exhausted us, but the spectacular Wonder of the World energized and really took our breath away.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 12
  13. 13. BEEN THERE DONE THAT Tran Hoai Giang & Ngo Xuan Minh Tran Hoai Giang and Ngo Xuan Minh have been teaching language skills and research methodology to TESOL and Translation – Interpretation majors for the past three years at School of English II, Faculty of English Language Teacher Education, ULIS - VNU. Their research interests include vocabulary acquisition, extensive reading and corpus linguistics. 3rd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TESOL Jointly organized by TESOL HCM, SEAMEO RETRAC Vietnam, Curtin University and College of Foreign Languages, Da Nang University Along with the Vietnamese ELT community’s expansion, quite a few TESOL conferences have recently been organized in Vietnam. Among the most prestigious of these is probably the annual TESOL conference jointly held by TESOL HCM and SEAMEO RETRAC Vietnam. Following two highly successful conferences in Ho Chi Minh (2010) and Hue (2011), the third was convened in Da Nang City between June 9th and 11th. There we had the honor to present our research findings together with two FELTE colleagues, Dr. Duong Thu Mai and Ms. Pham Thu Ha. FELTE Teachers at Da Nang As stated by the organizing committee, the conference “English Learning: A Focus on English Use” was intended to be an ELT forum discussing a range of issues with a particular stress on the Vietnamese context. Besides, the embedded networking activities in the conference program were expected to develop linkages among domestic and international educational institutions. From our personal experience, all these goals have been achieved even beyond our initial expectations. We were, on one hand, exposed to novel theories presented by Australian professors and, on the other hand, got an insight into the disadvantaged English learning and teaching contexts of Vietnamese colleagues and their innovative measures to make the best out of those situations. The most memorable presentation in our personal view was presumably Professor Andy Kirkpatrick’s on Asian English in use. According to him, as English is now a lingua franca, international intelligibility rather than native-like proficiency should be the foremost target of English language teaching and learning. Moreover, Asian/ ASEAN cultural knowledge should be integrated into the English program since most students will use English in that regional context rather than with native speakers of the language. Interestingly enough, this is also the direction taken by ULIS where two new subjects named World Englishes and An Introduction to ASEAN countries are under preparation and will be offered to English majors in the next academic year. For the conference’s remarkable benefits and its reasonable fee, we highly recommend it to early- career ELT teachers who are committed to professional development, yet cannot afford the luxury of a week-long foreign trip to an international conference.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 A souvenir from the conference 13
  14. 14. Feature Article An investigation into Vietnamese tertiary ELT teachers’ needs in the emergence of modern assessment paradigm Dr. Duong Thu Mai Dr. Duong Thu Mai has been the Head of School of Language Skills 2 for a year since her completion of the PhD of Education from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her areas of expertise include language assessment, performance assessment, L2 writing, learning strategies, instrument development and validation. This paper presents an examination of ten Vietnamese ELT teachers’ perception of two validated instruments, which are aimed to measure local students’ writing competence. The results from this investigation reveal what these teachers need in the growth of modern assessment paradigm in Vietnam, where norm-referenced and classical assessment is still predominant. The paper contains a thorough analysis of trends and special exceptions in the teachers’ opinions. The quotations are exactly what they spoke in English. I. The dynamics of writing assessment For over a hundred years, writing assessment has been considered a significant field. Looking through the lens of assessment methods, Yancey (1999) identifies three overlapping paradigms of writing assessment namely objective testing, holistic scoring and portfolio/ performance assessment. This is a comprehensive capture of the writing assessment history, as also reflected by other earlier and later authors. Since the late nineteenth century, essay assessment has been used at Harvard University in entrance examinations (Morison, 1930). However, it sometimes disappeared completely, as in the 1940s, when parametric tests were the reigning educational assessment tool, and the word “writing examination” meant answering selected-response questions in either standardized or locally developed tests (Ruth & Murphy, 1988). This indirect writing assessment period lasted through the World War 1 into the 1950s. The switch from the first to the second paradigm of writing assessment happened in the 1960s (Valentine, 1961). Direct writing assessment and criterion-referenced test interpretation were the most widely discussed issues. From the 1960s to the 1970s, writing assessment was argued to be more direct than multiple-choice tests; writing skills could only be assessed with real writing products and that students’ mistakes in writing should be investigated to inform followed-up instruction. Most language teachers then believed that they had found in holistic scoring a reliable, and therefore valid, method for assessing writing. In the classrooms, teachers assessed students’ one-and-final drafts based on the rubrics (Applebee, 1980). Essay☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 14
  15. 15. Feature Article examinations and assessment were standardized and produced highly consistent results. Today, holistic scoring is still considered the biggest breakthrough in writing assessment and “the most common assessment tool” (Connor, 1991, p. 215). The paradigm is named holistic scoring (Yancey, 1999) for this reason. In the middle of the 1980s, it was noticed that more evidence than the holistic scores was needed to make correct inferences about student ability. “In holistic scoring, the notion of a true score is replaced by a consensus score because two scores are generated for each essay” (Huot, 1990, p. 203). This seems to lead to even more serious errors of estimation and much more emphasis on rater consensus than the more substantial issues of assessment validity, raters’ personal judgment and students’ roles. A restriction of selves for the important stakeholders in writing assessment resulted (Yancey, 1999). Moreover, asking students to generate only one timed-impromptu essay to draw a conclusion about their writing ability forms the impression that good writing is generated in a short time, and in only one sitting. The problems with holistic scoring are even more obvious (Hamp-Lyons, 1991) where the role of diagnostic feedback for students is highly important, such as in L2 performance assessment. Meanwhile, the late 1980s witnessed a large number of great changes in education. One was the increasing popularity of cognitive learning theories and learner-centred approaches to teaching, which drove the shift from parametric to personalized assessment in educational assessment in this period (Herman, Aschbacher, & Winters, 1992; Shepard, 2008). In addition are the social-context approach and the expressive approach to the writing process (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996). These changes in education and language assessment appeared to address exactly the needs of writing assessment stakeholders, resulting in critical reforms. Specifically, students’ essay writing started to be treated as a communication act: students and teachers should be given the opportunities to express their (multiple) selves (Yancey, 1999). Assessing writing also means discovering and assessing those processes of self-expressing. It was also argued that writing ability should be assessed through many samples of writing produced at different time and under no pressure (CCCC Committee of Assessment, 1995; Yancey, 1999). Accordingly, there was a tremendous shift from objectively based, empiricist methods of evaluating writing to one which is more contextually situated, more rhetorically defined and more process-oriented (Hamp-Lyons, 1995; Lucas, 1988). Alternatives in writing assessment methods have become popular. Besides journals, diaries, process-based tests, the method which can best represent the reforms is writing portfolios, hence the name for this paradigm. Another change is the connection of writing assessment researchers in different areas, resulting in a prosperity of research, a rich variety of research approaches and a broadened range of research questions (Bachman, 2000).☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 15
  16. 16. Feature Article In summary, each period in the global writing assessment history has been dominated by particular assumptions about assessment methods, technical quality and writing competence. The modern paradigm of writing assessment, named portfolio writing assessment, performance-based writing assessment or alternative writing assessment, has emerged, along with two other paradigms. On balance, the co-existence of the new and old paradigms in writing assessment can be advantageous, since there is no single best way to do assessment (Brown, 1998). In Vietnam, the adoption of multiple assessment methods has been indicated in many documents by the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Chapter 3 of the Regulations on University and College Training (Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, 2007) highlights a number of assessment methods and the weighting given to them. These include essay writing, oral tests, term papers, major assignments, or combinations of these. In other regulations, such as those for accredited mainstream tertiary and college training (Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, 2007), students’ final scores are required to be a combination of scores from their attendance and participation, practicum, mid-term tests, major assignments, group assignments, term papers and final-term tests (which are compulsory and must account for at least 50% of the course credit). From these regulations and policies, it appears that assessment reliability is a well-discussed issue. However, the rarity of regulations on the validity of assessment, especially in alternative assessment methods, is noticeable. In the regulations for Accredited Mainstream Tertiary and College Training (Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, 2007), the only relevant point is that: “final examination contents of each subject should be appropriate to the course contents determined in the curriculum” (p.10). II. The signs of modern assessment paradigm at ULIS-VNU In ULIS-VNU, the third paradigm of writing assessment and the validity issues in assessment have started to be demonstrated. Portfolios have been applied. The instruments for assessing portfolios have recently been developed and validated following a rigorous process of iterative validation, an emphasis of the modern assessment paradigm. However, to obtain those final products, the process of training teachers to be raters for the instrument validation process, as described by the researchers, reveals their struggle to fulfil the role required from them (Duong, Nguyen, & Griffin, 2011). What do these teachers need for the process of instrument validation and for the new assessment paradigm? Obviously, the inadequate attention to this issue may lead to the questionable quality of local ELT writing assessment, the unempirical decisions made based on this assessment and the limited impact of assessment on instruction.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 16
  17. 17. Feature Article As stated, the writing assessment instrument for second year English-majored students at ULIS-VNU is a representation of the features of the modern assessment paradigm. The framework for the instrument has been established on both theoretical and practical backgrounds (Duong, Nguyen & Griffin, 2011). It entails that portfolio writing competence is measurable through two domains of knowledge, each represented by three capabilities. The capabilities in the first domain are further clarified into 20 indicators, 66 quality criteria while the second domain has 13 indicators and 53 quality criteria. The quality criteria in the portfolio instrument have been calibrated into continua of writing competence. The final instrument to assess writing competence can avoid ambiguity, the most serious criticism of alternative methods of assessment (Calfee & Perfumo, 1996). III. The study The study originated from the desire to understand what teacher participants in the development process of the modern assessment instrument above need to be trained for using it. Their participation includes drafting the instrument components before panelling, piloting and trialling them. The research questions in this study involve the teachers’ reflection of all those steps. Specifically, two questions are targeted: What are the teachers’ perceptions of the instrument? What do the teachers need in the modern paradigm of writing assessment? IV. Methodology 1. Data collection Table 1 Characteristics of Raters Raters Qualifications Teaching Portfolio Division Participation experience experience 1 Master degree 6 years, writing 4 years 2 Y (panelling and course designer, piloting) team leader 2 Master degree 7 years 3 years 2 and 3 N 3 Master degree 6 years 1 year 2 Y (piloting) 4 Master degree 3 years 2 years 2 and 3 N 5 Master degree 7 years 3 years 2 and 3 N 6 Master student 3 years 2 years 2 N 7 Doctoral student 9 years 4 years 1 N 8 Master degree 11 years 3 years 2 and 3 N 9 Master student 2 years 1 year 2 Y (piloting) 10 Master student 2years 1 year 2 N☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 17
  18. 18. Feature Article Interviews - a regularly applied method in L2 research - were chosen as the instrument for this data collection because they offer a convenient and flexible access to the perceptions of the teacher participants. With interviews, the researchers can discover data at the depth they desire and take plenty of steps to improve the credibility of the received data. Semi-structured interviews, the most popular type of interviews, were also selected because they offer the researcher opportunities to interrupt and probe for more information from raters, such as the specific information which may clarify the raters’ answers and relate them to the research focus. Ten raters agreed to participate in interviews and signed consent forms. The interview questions were designed to reveal the scale users’ opinions of its validity and what they need to demonstrate in using the instruments well. Specifically, the main questions address: a) the extent to which the raters satisfy with the content coverage of the instruments for the second-year students’ writing course In order to answer the question well, the teachers need to understand the course contents well. b) the extent to which the instruments discriminate second-year students’ levels of competence The raters’ answers will show whether they understand different levels of students’ competence. c) the applicability of the instruments compared to other existing instrument Through the comparison and contrast between the new instruments with the existing ones, it is possible to address the areas of highest concern for the teachers in using the new instruments. d) the opportunity for the instruments to be used in the following semesters and the issues to be addressed to improve their use This question aims at discovering the feasibility of applying the instruments in local assessment contexts in the near future. In answering this question, the raters had to assess the available resources and contexts. More information on the means of formalizing the instruments for assessment purposes in the future can thus be acquired. This question most relates to the practicality of the instruments, and the possible consequences of using them in the research contexts. A popular problem with interview data collection is the trustworthiness of the collected data. Regarding this, Morrow (2005) has mentioned that qualitative data collection and analysis should comply with standards of credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability. Several measures were taken so the data collection in this study could meet these standards. First, the collection involves all rater participants and using semi-structured interviews. Moreover, the interviews were recorded and transcribed by the researcher before the☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 18
  19. 19. Feature Article transcriptions were sent back to the teacher participants for an accuracy check. By providing specific descriptions of the contexts of data collection and the relation between the researcher and the participants, as well as emerging problems during the collection process, the researcher aims at achieving transferability (generalizability) and dependability (reliability). Lastly, the interview questions were worded carefully so that they did not convey the researcher’s emotion for their answers. Additionally, as already stated, the researcher as the interviewer always probed for further explanations for the participants’ answers, especially for negative answers.. 2. Data analysis After quantitative data analysis, raters’ interviews were analysed to obtain additional evidence for the functioning of the developed instruments. From the detailed transcription of interviews, information was studied for its relevance to the questions. Similarities and differences between raters’ answers were studied to discover patterns, which were then coded and grouped thematically by the researcher. Notable answers from the raters were utilized to make generalizations. The coding scheme was then subjected to confirmation by the researcher’s supervisors and one representative rater, who provided feedbacks on the meaning attached to the codes and the simplification or complication of meaning which the research has integrated in the development of the codes and the coding schemes. Revisions were made as many times as necessary until the final themes helped to describe the overall perception of raters on the use of the instrument. This iterative process of data analysis and revision was carefully kept track of to ensure the dependability and relative objectivity of the research findings. V. Results 1. Content coverage Almost all raters were able to give overall feedback on the course contents coverage of the instruments, i.e. the instruments basically cover all the instruction areas for the targeted group of students in the targeted time. When they were asked, raters were able to name the main contents of the course, which included the titles of the course book units and the contents related to the adopted writing instruction approach (process-oriented). Understanding that the indicators are the areas of knowledge in the course, no raters answered that it was necessary to add any others. Two raters suggested possible additions of components for the instruments before ultimately rejecting their own answers. The first was rater 8, who suggested adding the indicator of creativity as a bonus for students’ ideas. On reasoning to herself that this indicator had already been integrated in the two existing indicators of “select a variety of topics and cover the key points” and “use multiple resources in writing, and that creativity was not instructed, she☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 19
  20. 20. Feature Article withdrew the idea. “I think the scales cover all the contents in the writing course….One thing I want to add here is some creativity for the students….. When we do that, we need to have the teachers to do that in all the classes. But this one will be difficult because it is up to the individuals, this idea is brilliant or that idea is crazy”. This rater is currently teaching many groups of students and did not participate in earlier stages of the study, which may be the reason why they needed to be reminded of the course contents and requirements. Thus, although the raters generally agreed on the content coverage of the instruments, they may need to be retrained on the contents of the course before entering the assessment. The interviews also revealed useful insights from the raters on the use of the indicators. For example, rater 5 had difficulty understanding the differences between “identify weaknesses” and “reflect on problem solving skills”, and between “reflect on planning strategies” and “reflect on writing process monitoring strategies” so she supposed there was an overlap between these pairs of indicators. This is also a problem of rater 10. Neither of these raters participated in the study until the trialling stage. Therefore, although their suggestions should be taken into consideration, the raters’ answers may have resulted from not participating in earlier stages, when the justifications for and the meanings of indicators had been clearly articulated by other teachers. In other words, there is a strong objective desirability for raters to be involved as soon as possible into the instrument development process. 2. Competence discrimination among second year students Interestingly, the raters’ answers reveal two different perspectives on the word “discrimination”; one is the discrimination of general proficiency levels, and the other is the discrimination of specific indicator performances. Most of the answers were related to the latter perspective. For example, rater 4 said: “I think some indicators cannot cover all the levels of the students” as soon as she was asked about the discrimination of the instruments, and then continued to give examples of indicators which could not cover the range of students’ performances, so this rater did not look at discrimination of the overall ability of students, but at the specific and analytical performances in each indicators. Other raters gave more ambiguous meanings to the word “levels”. Only rater 6 clarified what she meant by “levels” in both perspectives that “the most interesting thing is we not only can see the groups of students in general writing competence, but also in different parts of writing competence”. Despite that the analytical nature of the instruments are new at the local contexts, the teachers are able to familiarize themselves with it and learn their advantages soon. Furthermore, many raters stated the complicatedness of student competence, which infers their ability to judge the students analytically as well as holistically. In general, all the raters mentioned the large proportion of students “in the middle levels” and that the proportions of☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 20
  21. 21. Feature Article students in the highest or lowest levels amounted to “only 10-20%” or “just a little”. Raters seemed to be disappointed to find the small number of students at the extreme levels. This, in fact, is reasonable because each of them scored only 30 portfolios, and it is normal for the students to cluster in the middle levels. This result highlights the need for fundamental assessment knowledge to be provided to teachers. A subjective need of raters is revealed when raters expressed their difficulty in making judgments which accurately reflected student ability. Firstly, some raters mentioned the need to add more criteria because the writing products they rated were in the middle of two adjacent criteria in certain indicators (raters 4 and 9). To be exact, these raters reflected a typical difficult rating situation when “you can see they have some characteristics in this part (criterion) and some characteristics in the other parts (criteria)” (rater 7). Another issue which made the process of judging more difficult was the failure of students to succeed in the newer areas of knowledge such as process-writing and reflection. Rater 5 suggested that the reason for this was the different instructional focus of the teachers in different classes and the students’ different interpretations of the course guide. This rater is among those working in other divisions and teaching other writing course and hesitating in giving the lowest scores to the special cases. At the first look, the above analyses would necessitate the provision of more rater training on the skill of making judgments. However, raters themselves reported different strategies to deal with difficult rating situations. First, they all agreed that it was the job of the rater to make a fair judgment based on the evidence found on the portfolios. Besides, they reported the comparisons of the difficult cases with other writings to determine the fairest judgment in order to look for more evidence. A very interesting insight came from rater 3, who stated the importance of making “holistic” judgments in an analytical instrument, especially for portfolios. This means the raters have to make an overall or “holistic” judgement of students’ performance levels in each indicator. This rating strategy for writing portfolios, interestingly, has been discussed widely (Hamp-Lyons & Condon, 1993). Due to the comprehensive nature of portfolios, it is hard for raters to maintain an even level of attention to all the details. What they resort to, then, is making a general impression of the indicator they need to assess in the student writings. Thus, from the answers to question 2, the raters show a good understanding of the discrimination aspect of assessment instruments despite differences in the use of terms of the instrument components and the occasional lack of awareness of the writing programmes or basic assessment knowledge. Faced with scoring difficulties, some of them even gradually☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 21
  22. 22. Feature Article discovered the right method to score with an analytical instrument, which is to make holistic judgments of student performances in each indicator. 3. Differences between the instruments and the existing instruments A neutral opinion was stated by many raters that the scoring analytical instrument required more efforts, attention and consistency from the raters, which could bear both positive and negative connotations. It is positive because the raters felt more effective to be totally absorbed in the rating tasks, but it is negative because of the exhaustion scoring could entail. Moreover, most raters stated that the instruments were long, complicated, and time consuming to use. Each portfolio, for example, could take from 30 minutes to one hour to score (rater 10). The first few reflection letters, as another example, could take a rater half an hour because some students did not write according to the order of indicators in the instruments (rater 9). Although most raters stated that rating speed increased when they got used to the instruments, adopting the instruments in general means taking on a considerable burden. In balancing this burden with the advantages of the instruments, most raters showed clear hesitations. In addition to comparing and contrasting the new instruments with the existing ones, the raters also showed concerns about other issues of developmental assessment, many of which reveal interesting insights into the local assessment contexts. For example, all the raters wondered about the transformation of the analytic scores into normal scores for the Vietnamese students, normally a range from 1 to 10. Vietnamese teachers and students are used to giving and being given scores in this range without a clear definition of what each number indicates. Rater 3, an experienced rater, described another dilemma for the raters when they had to omit a minority of mixed evidence and made a holistic judgement based on the majority of evidence, so there was a waste of evidence. In sharing this idea and similar ideas on the nature of the scoring process, this rater appeared to be very committed to teaching and assessing. No other raters were able to mention this controversy in writing assessment and the dilemma between scoring or not scoring writing products (Huot, 1990). She, on the other hand, was fully aware that this was a big issue, but did not want to go into detailed discussion on it. What she meant was only the difficulties faced by raters when having to change the old method of rating (scoring all the writing entries with a numeric score and giving specific comments on each of them) and when learning to use new instruments which were developed from a totally new assessment philosophy. Another matter the novice raters faced is their limited experience in capturing the ability range of the students and matching the criteria with the evidence in the writing products (rater 10). Rater 9 also noted the inequality of similarly-coded criteria in different indicators, such as between 1.1.1.2 and 1.1.2.2, which made it even harder to rank the students. It was these concerns about the new assessment method which led to the more time-consuming ratings, especially for the first few portfolios.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 22
  23. 23. Feature Article In short, question 3 illuminates the needs of raters in understanding how to merge the criterion-referenced instruments in the local norm-referenced contexts. 4. Feasibility of applying the instruments in the future Following question 3, this question gives the most direct answers about the teachers’ needs. The common trend of answers is that the instruments can be used if some facilitating actions are taken. Training for teachers and raters was mentioned by all of the raters. The instrument users, especially younger ones and those from other Divisions (raters 2, 5 and 7), wished to have better training and more discussions on indicator clarification, score transformation and scoring time management. It is noteworthy that no rater in Division 2 with experience in scoring writing products for second-year students mentioned indicator clarifications in answering this question. The two youngest raters in the groups (raters 9 and 10) also named the new teachers’ problems in classifying the student ability, the need to have other teachers’ assistance and the difficulties of marking even after a lot of training. From these answers, it seems that what the raters desire to be trained on are also the reasons for their problems in using the instruments, such as the inadequate knowledge of the second-year students’ writing programme, the limited understanding of the rationale for certain indicators and the difficulties of making holistic judgments. The training needs are also closely related to what raters considered to be disadvantages of the instruments: their complexity and time consumption. For example, one opinion is that raters should be trained on time saving tips in scoring. Rater training therefore should be a contextualized task and should suit specific raters’ experience. Beside rater training, student orientation was also mentioned as an important measure if the instruments are to be used. The responsible persons for the training would be the teachers. The reasons were that the assessment indicators needed to be reinforced by the teachers during the semester for students to remember. As rater 5 stated: “The course supposed that by reading the course objectives, the students know what they have to do, and the teachers know what to do. But now after marking, we find that this is not what happens”. This is a valuable recognition on the ineffectiveness of students’ self-study, which has never been studied at the Department before. In other words, students need to be assisted in their self-study of writing assessment indicators. Similar to answering the question on the advantages and disadvantages of the instruments, the answers to this question reveal the need to strengthen the link between instruction and assessment at the Department. This message was even further emphasized in the answers of the more experienced raters. The difference between their perspective and those of the novice raters is quite clearly expressed. More experienced raters showed a broader view and stressed the importance of changing all the stakeholders’ beliefs on assessment. The rater in the group with the most experience in teaching writing stated that “first, if you are the group leader, all the teachers must be willing☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 23
  24. 24. Feature Article to do assessment... Second, the students must know that they are going to be assessed in this way and they will learn something from self-assessment, peer assessment and teachers’ assessment. Many other things we cannot do, such as the rules of the school; sometimes, they are out of our control”. Experienced teachers seemed to be highly aware of the relation between teachers’ beliefs and actions, as well as the need to have the collaboration of all stakeholders in reforming deeply-rooted assessment practices. They therefore are not being confident about the chances that the instruments will be used in the near future. To improve the chance for the instruments also means to find solutions for what the raters considered the instruments’ weaknesses. Some methods were proposed to lighten the rating burden at the end of the semester such as dividing the instruments into many parts to familiarize the students with them during the semester and specialising the rating tasks so that each dimension is scored separately. If these individual interviews had been changed into a focus group interview, these tips and the discussion on time consumption and the instruction- assessment relationship would have been very beneficial for the novice raters in particular and for the writing teachers in general. Compared to other questions, question 4 provides the clearest insight into the practicality of the instruments, the needs of teachers and the future development of the local assessment contexts. A variety of rating tips employed by the raters were shared, but the most important message is their call for action from all the concerned stakeholders: teachers, raters, administrators, and students. This is a very important issue in Vietnamese education in general and at VNU in particular. VI. Summary and discussion In general, three main themes can be detected in the teachers’ perception of the new assessment practice, namely appreciations, depreciations, and aspirations. Appreciations On the whole, this is a clear pattern in the raters’ answers. The raters appreciated the quality of the new assessment practice by complimenting the complete range of writing knowledge for second-year students in the instruments. Analogously, they found it easy to place second-year students’ writing performances on the continua. The modern assessment instruments are also claimed to be most appropriate for local students’ ability range. To paraphrase, they are relevant and well-targeted. Besides other advantages over the existing assessment methods, the concreteness and clarity of the new assessment practice are highly appreciated by the raters for instructional and assessment purposes. Depreciations☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 24
  25. 25. Feature Article Most raters named time burden as the most serious disadvantage of the new assessment practice for portfolios and tests. The reason for this complaint may be that analytical instruments themselves are often more complicated and take more time than holistic instruments. Analytical instruments for scoring performance-based subjects are even more so. Moreover, because simple holistic instruments are still the only assessment tool available in the studied context, the raters easily became exhausted when they were introduced to new analytical instruments. The process of adaptation to the new method cannot happen in a short time. Aspirations In order to improve the use of the instruments, two trends of needs evolve from the analysis. Firstly, raters suggested that a more careful training programme should be provided for them, other teachers, and students. The proposed contents for the training vary from general assessment principles, assessment methods, rating techniques, indicator clarifications to hands-on experience and related course features. Administrators and educational leaders should also play an important role in emphasizing the benefits of the new assessment methods. It is clear from the raters’ interviews that the attention paid to-date to assessment in the local context has not equalled their needs, an issue reflected on a macro-scale in the incompleteness of Vietnamese educational regulations in terms of assessment validity (section 1.1.1) (National Assembly of the Social Republic of Vietnam, 1998, 2005; Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, 2007). Additionally, teachers indirectly revealed the need for reinforcement on the content of the course, the construct of assessment and the targeted group of students’ competence. They also need to be involved in the whole process of assessment rather than just the rating component. The teachers’ feedback is summarized in Figure 1☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 25
  26. 26. Feature Article Figure 1. Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of the Instruments In general, the themes show that positive perceptions are held by the raters on the new assessment practice. Also, although many obstacles still stand on the way of reforming the assessment in the context, specific solutions have been suggested and are highly feasible. It is hopeful that once the teachers’ needs as addressed in this study are considered and an action plan is made accordingly, there will be a hopeful future for alternative assessment in L2 writing instruction in the researched university. References Applebee, A. N. (1980). A study in writing in the secondary school. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English. Bachman, L. F. (2000). Modern language testing at the turn of the century: assuring that what we count counts. Language Testing, 17(1), 1-42. Calfee, R. C., & Perfumo, P. (Eds.). (1996). Writing portfolios in the classroom : Policy and practice, promise and peril. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. CCCC Committee of Assessment. (1995). Writing assessment: A position statement. College Composition and Communication, 46(3), 430-437. Connor, U. (1991). Linguistic/Rhetorical measures for evaluating ESL writing. In L. Hamp-Lyons (Ed.), Assessing second language writing in academic contexts. . Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Duong, M. T., Nguyen, C., & Griffin, P. (2011). Developing a framework to measure process-oriented writing competence : A case of Vietnamese EFL students formal portfolio assessment. RELC Journal, 42(2), 167-185. Grabe, W., & Kaplan, R. B. (1996). Theory and practice of writing : an applied linguistic perspective. New York: Longman. Hamp-Lyons, L. (1995). Uncovering possibilities for a constructivist paradigm for writing assessment. College Composition and Communication, 46(3), 446-455. Hamp-Lyons, L., & Condon, W. (1993). Questioning assumptions about portfolio-based assessment. College Composition and Communication, 44(2), 176-190. Herman, J., Aschbacher, P. R., & Winters, L. (1992). A practical guide to alternative assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Huot, B. (1990). The literature of direct writing assessment: Major concerns and prevailing trends. Review of Educational Research, 60(2), 237-263. Lucas, C. K. (1988). Toward ecological evaluation. The Quarterly, 10(1), 1-17. Morrow, S. L. (2005). Quality and Trustworthiness in qualitative research in counseling psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(2), 250-260. National Assembly of the Social Republic of Vietnam. (1998). The education law. National Assembly of the Social Republic of Vietnam. (2005). The education law Ruth, L., & Murphy, S. (1988). Designing writing tasks for the assessment of writing. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Inc. Shepard, L. A. (2008). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Journal of Education, 189(1), 95-108. Valentine, J. (1961). College Entrance Examination Board. CCC, 12, 88-92. Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training. (2007). Regulations for accredited mainstream tertiary and college training. Yancey, K. B. (1999). Looking back as we look forward: Historicizing writing assessment. College Composition and Communication, 50(3), 483-503.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 26
  27. 27. Review Second language learning theories Mitchell, R. & Myles, F. (2004) London: Hodder Arnold Review by Luong Huong Thao Thao Luong has worked as a teacher of English at the University of Languages and International Studies- Vietnam National University for over 4 years. Her research interests include English phonetics and semantics, computer assisted language learning and pronunciation in second language teaching and learning. Being collaboratively written by a linguist (Myles) and an educationalist (Mitchell), this book draws on the expertise of two specialists in both second language acquisition and second language pedagogy. It is aimed at providing a comprehensive and current introduction to the field of second language acquisition for all readers from undergraduate students to teachers and researchers. This revised and updated version of the book builds on the strengths of the previous edition and incorporates more recent empirical studies and expands the evaluation sections in each chapter. The book consists of nine chapters, through which the authors have presented a broad overview of the most significant theories and research findings of relevant studies. The first chapter is dedicated to introducing key concepts and issues such as learning and acquisition, property and transition theories, universal grammar and interlanguage, which will be further discussed in the subsequent chapters. The second chapter offers a historical overview of SLA field, focusing on theoretical foundations of current approaches. The two major theories during the period from 1950s to 1980s - Behaviourism and Monitor Model - are extensively examined. In this chapter, the authors also give a thorough review of the early approaches and hypotheses such as Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis, and Input hypothesis. Meanwhile, the next six chapters deal with the current formal theories such as Universal Grammar and interaction approaches. Each chapter provides an insight into one of the above-mentioned theories and follows the same structure: the authors always begin with an introduction to the theory or approach, which is supplemented with the explanations of the basic terminologies, and then they examine the theories from the perspectives of first language acquisition and second language acquisition. Furthermore, the empirical studies supporting those theories are described and analysed, followed by the evaluation of the application of those theories. The book ends with a chapter summarizing the current research emphasis and trends, and prediction of future direction for second language learning research. One noticeable strength of the book is that the presentation of issues and theories in the book is particularly comprehensible and readable; therefore, the book successfully provides an☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 27
  28. 28. Review introductory survey of the most significant theories and perspectives in the field of SLA for a wide range of audience ranging from language teachers and researchers to undergraduate students. For example, the explanation of key concepts at the beginning of each chapter followed by the description of theories is useful for readers without substantial background knowledge of the field whereas the analysis of the empirical studies and the final evaluation are valuable to readers such as graduate students, teachers and researchers who want to investigate further into the theories. This book also offers a wealth of valuable and updated information that can reflect the rapid development of the field, which is essential to the study of second language acquisition. As the authors mentioned in the introduction, this edition of ‘Second Language Learning Theories’ is updated with recent empirical studies which either support or reject the application of the theories. Chapter 3 can be taken as an example. In this chapter, the authors cited a number of recent empirical and theoretical studies inspired by the Universal Grammar approach such as Herschensohn (2000), Hawkins (2001), White (2003), and Chomsky (2000). The UG approach is supported by a series of studies (Bishop, 2001; Jenkins, 2000; Lorenzo and Longa, 2003) investigating the relation between language learning and intelligence. The principles and parameters of the UG approach are more specified by Chomsky (2000) with the Minimalist Program, Hawkins (2001) and Herschensohn (2000) with the head parameter. The fact that more recent empirical evidence is still added to the explanation of a theory shows that the theory is still controversial and has influence on the studies in the second language learning field. Nevertheless, one limitation of the book is that although most theories are explained in connection to each other, some relations are still vague. The comparison between processing and constructionist approaches presented in chapter 4 is an example. Though they are both inspired by Cognitive theory, they are developed in two different strands. However, their differences are not extensively analyzed. Moreover, in terms of supporting evidence, the second chapter provides insufficient results from relevant empirical studies. In this chapter, the authors analyzed little evidence from researches concerning the hypotheses developed during the 1950s and 1960s. The lack of research evidence makes their explanation not as strong as expected. These shortfalls are relatively insignificant given the books many strengths, particularly the richness of information about SLA theories and the analysis of these theories from different perspectives. This edition is clearly an ideal introduction to the field, especially for those students without substantial prior background in second language learning.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 28
  29. 29. TEACHING IN FOCUS A guideline for teaching pronunciation Khoa Anh Viet Mr. Khoa Anh Viet is the Vice-Dean of FELTE and Director of Center for Information and Technology. He was an ULIS graduate and obtained an MA from the University of Queensland, Australia. His main interests are teaching language skills, methodology, and using technology in learning, teaching, testing and researching. Pronunciation plays an integral part in teaching and learning a language. However, it has never been paid due attention partly because it is not included in the curriculum, even if included it is not given enough time, partly because teachers are not confident to teach. They claim that they do not have enough knowledge and skills. To provide a solution to this problem, I have composed a compact guideline for teaching pronunciation. It is comprised of five parts, beginning with a theoretical overview of pronunciation, followed by a recommendation on the elements of pronunciation to be taught, a communicative framework of teaching pronunciation, techniques for teaching pronunciation, and concluding with a review of latest technology used in teaching pronunciation. All these parts are introduced in the task-based approach with keys provided at the end to support teachers working on their own. To download the e-book, please follow the link below. http://www.mediafire.com/view/?2eaxw1dyst97g89 It is my hope that FELTE Quarterly readers will find this guideline useful. Should you need any further information, please contact me at khoaanhviet@vnu.edu.vn.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 29
  30. 30. Call for Contribution Editorial Board FELTE Quarterly (FQ) is a journal of, for and by FELTE teachers to report on multifaceted life at Faculty of English Language Teacher Education, ULIS, VNU and to engage its staff members in collegial discussion about issues in the TESOL field. The journal is published every two quarters in the electronic format and for internal circulation only. FQ invites you to submit articles in accordance with the guidelines below. 1. Submission categories - News (in FELTE Rhythm about pre-eminent activities involving FELTE teachers to keep the Rhythm) whole faculty staff up to date. - Interviews (in FELTE Faces with conspicuous faculty figures so that their colleagues can Faces) learn from their recipes for success. - Brief travel reports (in Been there done that on FELTE teachers’ trips to conferences or that) study tours domestically and internationally. - Research reports (in Feature Article on a variety of ELT issues. Article) - Reviews (in Review corner) of ELT- related books, articles, and other teaching – learning materials - Practical ideas for classrooms (including but not limited to lesson plans, worksheets and Power Point slide shows) (in Teaching in Focus Focus) 2. Technical requirements - The submission should conform to the style guidelines in The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). For information, see the APA Web site. - Authors may use British or American spelling, but they must be consistent. - A short self-introduction (biodata) of no more than 50 words and a profile picture should be attached to the submission email. - All manuscripts should be submitted electronically to the FQ Managerial Board via the email address chidoangiaovienspta@gmail.com. - Submissions should be in Microsoft Word or compatible program. Please submit figures, graphs, and other graphic elements in a standard graphic format (e.g., JPEG) or Excel. Tables should be created in Microsoft Word or compatible program. - All quoted material must be cited in text and in a reference list. The FQ Editorial Advisory Board will determine a clear policy and definition of plagiarism, and its decision will be final.☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 30
  31. 31. FELTE QUARTERLY ☼ Issue 3 ☼ Autumn 2012 Faculty of English Language Teacher EducationUniversity of Languages and International Studies, VNU 31

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