(Mis)alignment between English textbooks and test papers: A corpus-based discourse study from Vietnam

Nguyen, An (2021). (Mis)alignment between English textbooks and test papers: A corpus-based discourse study from Vietnam. In: International Corpus Linguistics Conference 2021, 13-17 Jul 2021, Limerick, Ireland.


Since the implementation of the opening-up reform, Doi Moi, in 1986, the Vietnamese government has continuously revised policies regarding the teaching and learning of English as a mandatory foreign language in the national education system. The most recent National Curriculum of English programme was officially introduced into all Vietnamese schools in 2018. The key change in the 2018 reform was a new theme-based system as an attempt to provide students with context and substance for their learning of English. Significant reforms also undergo in the National High School Examination of English following the new curriculum. This study explores an open question, often claimed by the ministers as the goal of the education reforms: Does the English Examination closely follow what was set out in the current English curriculum, particularly in terms of the thematic content? Adopting a mixed-method research design, this study first conducts an in-depth content analysis to identify and discuss the big four themes included in the current English curriculum. A quantitative corpus analysis based on statistical categorisation of 150 selected English exam papers quantifies the correspondence of the exam papers with the thematic content pre-identified in the curriculum. The results show that over the past three years, the English exam papers have become increasingly out of alignment with the English curriculum in terms of its thematic content. This misalignment can be attributed to implementational, institutional and financial issues faced by the nation testing system of English language in Vietnam.

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