English proficiency assessments of primary and secondary teachers and students participating in English in Action. Study 3a

Background

This study has been designed to test students’ and teachers’ ability to speak in English as they progress through the English in Action (EIA) programme. For this reason, assessments of 543 teachers and 7,239 students were carried out in the initial months of the project’s implementation during February and March 2010, and were repeated with a matched sample of 1,102 students and 317 teachers in March and April 2011. This report compares the main findings of the 2010 study with those of 2011 to examine the change in English language competence of teachers and students since their involvement in EIA. The tests were carried out by Trinity College London and focused upon spoken English, which is the focus of the communicative approach of EIA. The results show that teachers and students in both primary and secondary schools improved their English language competence over the period of the EIA intervention in schools. The headline findings for each of these groups are provided below.

Key findings – students

In 2011, primary students performed significantly better than in 2010; in particular, there was an improvement in the number of students obtaining a pass grade. The 2011 data showed no gender differences, but rural students did not perform as well as those in semi-urban schools (there were no primary schools in urban areas in the sample). There were also district differences in performance, with students in Lalmonirhat doing better than those in the other two districts. Secondary students also performed significantly better in 2011 than in 2010, with most students obtaining a pass grade. Again, there was no statistically significant difference according to gender, the students in rural schools performed worse than those in urban schools, and there was a similar district difference in performance as there was with primary students.

Key findings – teachers

Primary school teachers all obtained a pass grade in the Trinity test, and almost all had the English language (EL) competence to teach Class 3, both of which indicate a statistically significant improvement over 2010. There was a gender difference in performance in favour of male teachers, but not one according to school location (rural vs. semi-urban). Secondary school teachers had also improved compared with the 2010 performance, and almost all had the EL competence to teach Class 6. There is no statistically significant gender differences in performance, but teachers in rural schools performed worse than those in urban schools.

Summary and recommendations

It is striking that there were improvements for both secondary students and teachers, and that improvements were across the range of Trinity grades, rather than only at the basic level. Nevertheless, there is still a need to try and improve teachers’ EL competence so that they will be able to teach a wider range of classes within primary or secondary schools. The measure to improve teachers’ personal English language will address this need.

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