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Mountainous students joined with lecturers to evaluate and grade the final foreign language test

 

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy presented the final report at the course
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy presented the final report at the course

Education & Times Newspaper – At the final term foreign language test at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Tay Bac University, all students can comment on their peers’ presentation, together with their lecturer and guest lecturers. The fair and transparent grading practice has received enthusiastic support and response from students.

This breakthrough was made possible by Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Dean of Foreign Languages Faculty, with knowledge and support from Australian experts.

Ms. Thuy just finished the Australia Awards Short Course on “Undergraduate Curriculum Development and Renewal” facilitated by The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with Aus4Skills’ suppport. During the two-week course in Australia, she learnt about educational models and undergraduate curriculum at Australian universities. This experience inspired her to change the evaluation and examination methods at the Foreign Languages Faculty, Tay Bac University.

In an interview with Education & Times Newspaper, she shared her views about this source of inspiration as follows: “The most impressive thing during my visit to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia is the student-centred evaluation and examination procedures. All activities are conducted to support and develop students. In both curriculum and examination, three requirements must be satisfied: firstly, training curriculum and evaluation, examination shall involve and attract students; secondly, students shall be given support in all activities; thirdly, students’ sense of university membership must be built and maintained.

In our current examination system, the final score accounts for a whopping 70%, which is a paper-based test of 90 – 120 minutes, and depends mostly on the lecturer’s evaluation. This system makes many students nervous, anxious, and stressed.

Based on the training session and experiences from QUT’s experts, I have involved students in the evaluation and examination activities by: changing the content of evaluation tests, encouraging students to spend time and effort in mid-term tests, increasing the grading percentage of mid-term tests, organizing different class activities and evaluating students by their participation in these activities.
For example, after each lesson, students are required to prepare a presentation, as an individual or as a group, which fosters their confidence. This practice supports and brings equal opportunity for all students to be involved in sessions.

In addition, after each presentation, students shall make a short video about their learning process. This task is explained clearly at the beginning of each term by the lecturer, so students can arrange time appropriately. In order to be accepted and graded, the video should be modified many times, according to feedback and advice from the lecturer. Each feedback and modification will make students revise lessons and exercises. Therefore, students’ skills and knowledge will be enhanced through an increased amount of self-study and practical assignments.

Regarding the final test, instead of a paper-based test, students were informed from the beginning that the final test will be a presentation on their favourite topic. Students can use a projector and refer to the internet and media to get more information in developing their presentation. Before the final test, each student is encouraged to practice and improve their talk through rehearsal with the lecturer, their classmates and obtain direct feedback. This activity ensures transparency and equality in the examination, especially all students can participate in evaluating and grading learning outcomes.”

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy presented the final report at the course
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy received a Certificate of the course from The Queensland University of Technology’s expert. 

* After renovation in evaluation and examination practice, will you improve other components in curriculum at the Foreign Languages Faculty, Tay Bac University? 

- Of course! Evaluation and examination activities are affected significantly by evaluation methods. As of now, we have organized 2 workshops on changing evaluation and examination methods. In the near future, additional workshops and seminars will be held. These activities are intended to support lecturers in establishing course syllabuses in the same orientation which focuses on student assessment, precise assessment methods, transparent and detailed assessment criteria. The reform must take a student-centred approach which fosters creativity and practice in classrooms. 

* As a participant of the course since November 2017, how would you evaluate the relationship between Australian experts and trainees during and after the course? 

- With my English abilities, I could discuss directly with Aus4Skills’ experts and Australian lecturers during the study time in Australia. We have been receiving enthusiastic, sincere support and mentoring. Apart from personal relations, QUT is going to sign a cooperation agreement with Tay Bac University this June. 

The agreement will mark the beginning of a strong and sustainable relationship which ensures support and advice from international experts for our upcoming reform projects 

* Thank you for the interview!

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"I have not encountered any difficulty in implementing my application project. My colleagues at the faculty are young and open-minded, they are willing to embrace new changes which benefit students. In addition, other colleagues at different faculties also joined courses provided by Aus4Skills and learned experiences from Australian experts. As a result, they fully supported and facilitated curriculum renewal in our university. When leaders’ vision towards reform, everything will be conducted smoothly.” said Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Dean of Foreign Languages Faculty, Tay Bac University.

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Source: Translation of an article on Education and Times Newspaper