Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor of TEFL, University of Tabriz


Generally, program evaluation is of prime importance to check the workability of a course. In this way, it can be made sure that the course achieves its intended goals and objectives, and consequently fulfills the learners’ needs, wants, and aspirations. Therefore, an attempt was made to evaluate the instructional functioning of the Simple Prose and Newspaper Articles course which is offered to the undergraduate English majors at the university of Tabriz, Iran and is taught by the researcher/instructor himself. To this end, Brown’s (1995) model of program evaluation was opted for. Based on local needs and objectives, this model was modified and extended to seven curriculum components: objectives, attitudes, needs analysis, time, classroom activities, materials, and assessment. In order to gather quantitative and qualitative data, a mixed methods design was employed. The quantitative data were obtained through a questionnaire which comprised 35 items based on the aforementioned curriculum components, i.e. five items for each component. Also, the qualitative data were collected through a semi-structured interview. The participants consisted of 36 undergraduate English majors, i.e. 12 male, 24 female. The results of the study indicate that this course is quite useful for the students to develop their linguistic, cultural, and social knowledge. However, it needs to be modified in order to be more fruitful. One of the main implications of this study might be that the seven curriculum components proposed by the researcher could be employed for the evaluation of any course of study. Another implication might be that these seven curriculum components could be utilized by syllabus designers or curriculum developers for the development of any syllabus.


Akst, G. & Hecht, M. (1980). Program evaluation. In Trillin, A. S. (ed.). Teaching basic skills in college, pp. 261-310. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Alderson, J. C. (1996). Guidelines for the evaluation of language education. In J. C. Alderson & A. Beretta (Eds.), Evaluating second language education (pp. 274–304). Cambridge: CUP.
Alvarez, I. (2007). Foreign language education at the crossroads: whose model of competence? Language, Culture and Curriculum 20(2): 126-136.
Bachman, L.F. & Palmer, A. (1996). Language testing in practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Beretta, A. (1996b). What can be learned from Bangalore evaluation? In Alderson, J.C. & Beretta, A. (ed.). Evaluating second language education, pp. 250-271. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Beretta, A. & Davies, A. (1985). Evaluation of the Bangalore project. ELT Journal39(2): 121-127.
Breen, M. P. (2001b). Navigating the discourse: on what is learned in the language classroom. In Candlin, C. N. & Mercer, N. (ed.). English language teaching in its social context, pp. 306-322. London: Routledge.
Brinton, D. M. & Holten, C. A. (2001). Does the emperor have no clothes? a re-examination of grammar in content-based instruction. In Flowerdew, J. & Peacock, M. (ed.). Research perspectives on English for academic purposes, pp. 239-259. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brown, J. D. (1995). The elements of language curriculum: A systematic approach to program development. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Burns, A. (2003). Collaborative action research for English language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clapham, C. (2001). Discipline specificity and EAP. In J. Flowerdew & M. Peacock (Eds.), Research perspectives on English for academic purposes (pp. 84–100).Cambridge: CUP.
Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your coursebook. Oxford: Heinemann.
Dogancay-Aktuna, S. (2006). Expanding the socio-cultural knowledge base of TESOL teacher education. Language, Culture and Curriculum 19(3): 278-295.
Dudley-Evans, T. & St John, M. J. (2000). Developments in English for specific purposes: A multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge: CUP.
Flowerdew, J. & Peacock, M. (2001). Issues in English for academic purposes. In Flowerdew, J. & Peacock, M. (ed.). Research perspectives on English for academic purposes, pp. 8-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fraenkel, J. R. & Wallen, N. E. (2008). How to design and evaluate research in education. Fifth ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Gatehouse, K. (2001). Key issues in English for specific purposes (ESP) curriculum development. TESL Journal online, 7(10). Retrieved July 9, 2007, from
Guthrie, G. P. (1982). An ethnography of bilingual education in a Chinese community. Unpublished Ph. D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Harmer, J. (2002). The practice of English language teaching. Second ed. London: Longman.
Hedge, T. (2002). Teaching and learning in the language classroom. Third ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hutchinson, T. & Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes: A learning-centered approach. Tenth ed. Cambridge: CUP.
Johnson, R. K. (2001). An introduction to foreign language learning and teaching. Pearson Education, Longman: London.
Kiely, R. (2009). Small answers to the big question: learning from language program evaluation. Language Teaching Research 13(1): 99-116.
Kita, Lee Cheng. (2006). Factors contributing to civil engineering students’ poor achievement in an ESP program. MA thesis. University of Malaya.
Langbein, L. I. & Felbinger, C. L. (2006). Public program evaluation: a statistical guide. New York: M. E. Sharpe.
Lightbown, P. M. & Spada, N. (2003). How languages are learned. Revised ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lin, A. M. Y. (2001). Doing-English-lessons in the reproduction or transformation of social worlds? In Candlin, C. N. & Mercer, N. (ed.). English language teaching in its social context, pp. 271-286. London: Routledge.
Longman, D. G. & Atkinson, R. H. (2002). College learning and study skills. Sixed ed. California: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Lynch, B. K. (1996a). Evaluating a program inside and out. In J. C. Alderson & A. Beretta (Eds.), Evaluating second language education (pp. 61–96). Cambridge: CUP.
Lynch, B. K. (1996b). Language program evaluation: Theory and practice. Cambridge: CUP.
Mazdayasna, G. & Tahririan, M. H. (2008). Developing a profile of the ESP need of Iranian students: the case of students of nursing and midwifery. Journal of English for Academic Purposes7: 277-289.
Mercer, N. (2001). Language for teaching language. In Candlin, C. N. & Mercer, N. (ed.). English language teaching in its social context, pp. 243-257. London: Routledge.
Mishan, F. (2005). Designing authenticity into language learning materials. Bristol: Intellect.
Murphy, D. F. (1985). Evaluation in language teaching: Assessment, accountability and awareness. In J. C. Alderson (Ed.), Evaluation (pp. 1–17). Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Nunan, D. (1999a). The learner-centered curriculum. Tenth printing. Cambridge: CUP.
Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching grammar in context. In Candlin, C. N. & Mercer, N. (ed.). English language teaching in its social context, pp. 191-199. London: Routledge.
Peacock, M. (2001). Language learning strategies and EAP proficiency: teacher views, student views and test results. In Flowerdew, J. & Peacock, M. (ed.). Research perspectives on English for academic purposes, pp. 268-285. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Peacock, M. (2009). The evaluation of foreign-language-teacher education programs. Language Teaching Research 13(3): 259-278.
Prabhu, N. S. (1987). Second language pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rahimian, M. (2005). Developing communicative syllabus in ESP/EAP classes and how to deal with it in EFL situations. In G. R. Kiany & M. Khayamdar (Eds.), Proceedings of the First National ESP/EAP Conference (pp.86-98). Tehran: SAMT.
Rea-Dickins, P. (2002). Classroom assessment. In Hedge, T. (ed.). Teaching and learning in the language classroom, pp. 375-401. Third ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richards, J. C. (1984). Language curriculum development. RELC Journal,15(1), 1–14.
Richards, J. C. (2007). Curriculum development in language teaching. Eighth printing. New York: Longman.
Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. (2002). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Second ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Robinson, B. (2003). Evaluation, research and quality. In Robinson, B. & Latchem, C. (ed.). Teacher education through open and distance learning, pp. 193–211. London: Routledge/Farmer.
Royse, D. D., Thyer, B. A., Padgett, D. & Logan, T. K. (2005). Program evaluation: an introduction. Michigan: Thomson Brooks.
Ryan, K. E. (2007). Changing contexts and relationships in educational evaluation. In Kushner, S. & Norris, N. (ed.). Dilemmas of engagement: evaluation and the new public management, pp. 103-116. Oxford: JAI Press.
Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shams, M.R. (2010). Reading English newspapers. Tehran: Jungle publications.
Van Blerkom, D. L. (2003). College study skills: becoming a strategic learner. Fourth ed. California: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Worthen, B. R., Sanders, J. R. & Fitzpatrick, J. L. (2003). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines. Third ed. Pearson Education, Longman: London.
Yang, W. (2009). Evaluation of teacher induction practices in a US university English language program: towards useful evaluation. Language Teaching Research 13(1): 77-98.