Title

Impact assessment of English language support program at AKU-IED, in relation to learners' needs

Date of Award

8-1-2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The Aga-Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) offers a two-year Master in Education (M.Ed.) program to its cooperating educational institutions in the public and private sectors in several developing countries situated in South and Central Asia and Eastern Africa. The medium of instruction of the M.Ed. course is English. The program is highly interactive in nature. The course participants (CPs) are engaged in writing academic papers, class presentations, classroom discussion and group work, all of which require adequate proficiency in both oral and written English. English is normally taught as a second and third language in the countries from where the CPs come. Therefore, the CPs need to obtain good skills of academic writing, reading, listening and speaking to meet the academic requirements of the M.Ed. program. For that reason, the CPs are supported in their language skills through English Language Support Program (ELSP), eight week Pre-Session Intensive English Language Course (PIELC) as well as On-Going Language Support Course (OLSC) to address their entry level and emerging needs during the course of their studies respectively. The purpose of this research study was to evaluate the outcomes of the two components of the ELSP and analyze the extent to which ELSP prepared the CPs of the M.Ed. class to meet the academic requirements of the M.Ed. program at AKU-IED in English. The study used a questionnaire survey and qualitative research design; Qualitative data was collected through a focus group interview with the CPs of M.Ed class 2005, a semi-structured interview with the coordinator of ELSP and reviewing of some documents. The findings of the study indicated that PIELC was effective for the CPs with relatively upper-intermediate English language proficiency level, as the content for them was more relevant in respect to the requirements of the M.Ed. program. However, The CPs with intermediate and low-intermediate proficiency level found pre-session intensive English language course not very effective as the focus was more on basic elements of language and not on the academic requirements of the M.Ed. program for their groups. While it helped them develop their language skills in general, but it did not prepare the CPs for the M.Ed. program. The CPs' evaluation of OLSC was low, in general. It seemed to be helpful for the CPs with relatively low-intermediate proficiency level to some extent. However, the objectives of OLSC were also not achieved due to various reasons. As a result of the research study, it is recommended that ELSP should be designed in a way that it should cater to the CPs' language needs at the entry level and during the M.Ed. program with a focus on the target situation.

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