English Language Assessment in the Algerian Middle and Secondary Schools: A Context Evaluation.
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The following work tackles the issue of assessment in the Algerian Middle and Secondary schools. More specifically, it seeks to examine the place of assessment and the way it is implemented in the Middle School syllabuses and textbooks. Also, two of the Secondary School course books; that is, Getting Through and New Prospects. In addition, it evaluates the BEM and the BAC tests to check whether they meet the criteria of a good test and the corresponding levels of their items in Bloom’s taxonomy. To this end, we have conducted our research which is a ‘context evaluation’ in the light of the ‘Mastery Learning Approach’ and ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’. Accordingly, our study identifies the main weaknesses and strengths of the aforementioned materials. First, the syllabuses stress the importance of assessment above all formative assessment. This is a noticeable positive point. However, we found that the syllabuses do not include comprehensible hints which show how such formative assessment including self-and peer assessment can be carried out systematically and effectively, nor do they (syllabuses) include assessment criteria specific to each year of study, or well-elaborated grading system, etc. As regards the Middle School textbooks, we have noted that the latter include assessment sections made up of many activities. This is a good aspect. Nevertheless, the textbooks adopt the three Ps approach and their assessment activities are designed in a summative way and they often overemphasise language structures and discrete-point items. Moving to the two Secondary School textbooks mentioned above, it appears that they merely include assessment grids with a multiplicity of items to be ticked by the students. Last but not least, the BEM and the BAC tests are mainly of discrete-point items and they particularly target the lowerorder skills and they lack reliability and construct validity. Finally, we have tried to include suggestions that can be used as remediation for the insufficiencies of the materials we evaluated.