Advertisement

A Critical Analysis of Teacher Involvement in the English Language Paper of the First School Leaving Certificate Examination (FSLC) in Cameroon

  • Achu Charles Tante
Chapter

Abstract

English is one of two official languages in Cameroon and it is used as L2 from pre-school to university. It therefore implies that the language is crucial in the academic achievement of primary school pupils. Success in the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) Examination marks the end of the primary cycle and possession of the first education certificate which opens the way to several avenues. However, failure in the English language paper would hardly lead to success in the examination. In addition, the majority of careers require success and competence in the English language. The English language paper then is High-Stakes, with great washback effects not only for pupils and candidates but also for various stakeholders. Recently, there have been loud cries on the disparity existing between English language results and language use of primary school students. The trend seems continuous right up to higher education. The question has been raised as to how to explain the mass success rate in English language in the FSLC Examination given the poor level of communication of students. Many reasons and explanations have been suggested for this state of affairs, such as the policy of education for all, the young ages of pupils, inadequate teaching materials, inadequate teacher training and development, and poor parental support. This chapter takes a critical look at the involvement of classroom teachers in the development, organisation, administration and marking of the English language paper in the FSLC Examination. The chapter attempts to examine the roles and duties of classroom teachers, and whether their involvement enhances or reduces the validity and reliability of the examination.

References

  1. Abrams, L. M., Pedulla, J. J., & Madaus, G. F. (2003). The impact of high-stakes testing. Theory Into Practice, 42, 18–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anuchem, I. N. (2015). The organisation of marking and its impact on examiners’ marking proficiency in examinations organised by the Cameroon GCE Board. Dissertation, University of Buea, Cameroon.Google Scholar
  3. Au, W. (2007). High-stakes testing and curricular control: A qualitative metasynthesis. Educational Researcher, 36, 258–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayres, P., Sawyer, W., & Dinham, S. (2004). Effective teaching in the context of a grade 12 high-stakes external examination in New South Wales. British Educational Research Journal, 30, 141–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boardman, A. G., & Woodruff, A. L. (2004). Teacher change and ‘high-stakes’ assessment: What happens to professional development? Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 545–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bobda, A. S. (2004). Linguistic apartheid: English language policy in Africa. English Today, 20, 19–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cimbricz, S. (2002). State-mandated testing and teachers’ beliefs and practice. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Diamond, J. B. (2007). Where the rubber meets the road: Rethinking the conception between high-stakes testing policy and classroom instruction. Sociology of Education, 80, 285–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gregory, K., & Clarke, M. (2003). High-stakes assessment in England and Singapore. Theory Into Practice, 42, 66–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Herbert, J. P. (2000). High-stakes testing opportunities and risks for students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities. New York: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum.Google Scholar
  12. Hoffman, J. V., Assaf, L. C., & Paris, S. G. (2001). High-stakes testing in reading: Today in Texas, tomorrow? The Reading Teacher, 54, 482–492.Google Scholar
  13. Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language teachers (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, K. (2008). Teaching children to use visual research methods. In P. Thomson (Ed.), Doing visual research with children and young people (pp. 77–94). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Journell, W. (2010). The influence of high-stakes testing on high school teachers’ willingness to incorporate current political events in the curriculum. The High School Journal, 93, 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ketter, J., & Pool, J. (2001). Exploring the impact of a high-stakes direct writing assessment in two high school classrooms. Research in the Teaching of English, 35, 344–393.Google Scholar
  18. Kouega, J.-P. (2002). Uses of English in Southern British Cameroon. English Worldwide, 23, 93–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kucha, H. (2013). Context-appropriate ELT pedagogy: An investigation in Cameroonian primary schools. Dissertation, University of Warwick, UK.Google Scholar
  20. Linn, R. L. (2000). Assessments and accountability. Educational Researcher, 29, 4–15.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry of National Education. (2000). National syllabuses for English speaking schools in Cameroon. Yaounde: Imprimérie Saint John.Google Scholar
  22. Nwana, E. M. (2000). Coping with British and French inherited systems of education. In T. M. Ndongko & L. I. Tambo (Eds.), Educational development in Cameroon 1961–1999: Issues and perspectives (pp. 10–22). Platerville: Nkemnji Global Tech and University of Regina Press.Google Scholar
  23. Prabhu, N. S. (1990). There is no best method: Why? TESOL Quarterly, 24, 161–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sloane, F. C., & Kelly, A. E. (2003). Issues in high-stakes testing programs. Theory Into Practice, 42(1), 12–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tambo, I. L. (2000). The national education forum of 1995. In T. M. Ndongko & I. L. Tambo (Eds.), Educational development in Cameroon 1961–1999: Issues and perspectives (pp. 257–265). Platerville: Nkemnji Global Tech and University of Regina Press.Google Scholar
  26. Tchombe, T. M. (2014). Progressive transformative teacher education in Cameroon. Educational Leadership and Management Studies, 33, 23–32.Google Scholar
  27. Tenjoh-Okwen, T. (2003). Lesson observation: The key to teacher development. English Teaching Forum, 41, 30–34.Google Scholar
  28. Wall, D. (2000). The impact of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning: Can this be predicted or controlled? System, 28, 499–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Achu Charles Tante
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BueaBueaCameroon

Personalised recommendations