English language examination reform: International trends and a framework for Nepal

Shrestha, Prithvi (2018). English language examination reform: International trends and a framework for Nepal. In: Hayes, David ed. English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, Reflection and Practice. Kathmandu: British Council, pp. 37–57.

URL: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/english...


This chapter is based on desk research on examinations and their reforms globally. Although the chapter is about English language examination reforms, it draws on the literature related to general education where relevant. The chapter begins by exploring why governments reform school examinations. In particular, the chapter focuses on the external environment: political, educational and economic factors which influence the nature of school examinations in different ways (Shohamy, 2007). These factors are important because a combination of at least two of these factors or all are taken into account when a government decides to reform its school examination system. Having considered these factors, the chapter showcases case studies of examination reform in other countries from Africa (Kenya), Asia (Hong Kong SAR and Singapore) and Europe (Norway), drawing on the most current literature. How examination reforms were carried out in these countries, and their consequences and lessons learned are discussed. From these case studies, key issues for Nepal are identifi ed. In order to give the reader a perspective on the examination system in Nepal in relation to the other countries discussed, this chapter then briefly reports on the history of examination reform, particularly English language examinations in Nepal.

After providing the context of the examination system in Nepal, the chapter makes a proposal for a framework of English language examination reform for Nepal based on research and current good practices. This section will specifically focus on what Nepalese education policy makers can do to reform examinations that have minimal negative consequences and how they can carry this out. Drawing on Shohamy (2007) and McNamara and Rover (2006), the proposed framework will discuss how it needs to consider the essential aspects of examination reform: stakeholder engagement, needs-basedness, links with the curriculum, intended and unintended consequences, and continuous research and development. Finally, a set of recommendations for Nepalese policy makers are made.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions