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Volume 6 Number 2, Summer 2009, Pages 1-231   

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Issues in the Assessment and Evaluation of English Language Education at the Elementary School Level: Implications for Policies in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan

    Yuko Goto Butler

While English as a Foreign Language at Elementary Schools (EFLES) has gained popularity in many parts of the world including East Asia, we have relatively little understanding about evaluation and assessment practices at the elementary school level. The present study synthesizes the information currently available (typically only at the local level) on assessments that have been used for the evaluation of EFLES programs in three Asian countries: South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. By doing so, the study aims to identify what is known and what needs to be understood in order to advance our collective understanding of how EFLES may be more effectively implemented in East Asia. Previous research on EFLES has largely consisted of the following types of studies: (1) survey and interview studies that ask students, teachers and parents about their experiences with and/or their perceptions of the effectiveness of EFLES programs; (2) studies that use linguistic measures to compare the performance differences between those who have studied in EFLES programs and those who have not; and (3) studies evaluating students' language attainment based on some form of criteria-based reference measures. The present paper concludes with a series of suggestions for the assessment and evaluation of EFLES programs in those countries that are the focus of this study.

Keywords: EFLES: English as a Foreign Language at Elementary Schools