Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10. Number 3 September 2019                                     Pp. 202-219
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol10no3.14

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English Language Education in Algeria: Hostage of an Exam-Centric Education System

 

Nabil Djawad BEMMOUSSAT
Faculty of Letters and Languages
ESPT Laboratory, Department of English
University of Tlemcen, Algeria

Naima BOUYAKOUB
Faculty of Letters and Languages
ESPT Laboratory, Department of English
University of Tlemcen, Algeria

 

 

Abstract:
The present research paper is a plea for a reform policy of English Language Education in Algerian secondary-school education. It attempts to redraw the boundaries of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) from a teaching-testing perspective based on two fundamental questions: the ‘what-to-teach’ and the ‘what-to-test’, which represent the rationale of Algerian EFL classrooms. It also expands into a discussion of the discrepancies existing between stated objectives and classroom practice. This deviation from the prescribed syllabus is dictated by the Baccalaureate exam, a standardized test par excellence and the ‘entry visa’ to university. The study was carried out with a sample population composed of twenty-eight male and female students from the English Department of the University of Tlemcen, Algeria during the first term of the academic year 2018-2019. The data collected tools employed in this pilot experimental study, a pre-unit test (a pre-test), remedial activities, and a post-test, were conducted on the sample at the end of the experiment. The research paper culminates with a formulation of initial pedagogical steps that are likely to develop students’ communicative abilities within an exam-centric education system characterized by a grammar-focused and vocabulary-building test-oriented teaching. Hence, to negotiate a balanced approach that would accommodate both effective teaching and efficient testing.
Keywords: Communicative abilities, English Language Education, high-stakes exam, teach-to-the-test pedagogy

Cite as: BEMMOUSSAT, N. D., & BOUYAKOUB, N. (2019). English Language Education in Algeria: Hostage of an Exam-Centric Education System. Arab World English Journal10 (3) 202-219.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol10no3.14

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Mr Nabil Djawad BEMMOUSAT is an assistant teacher of Language Skills at the English
Language Department, University of Tlemcen, Algeria. He holds a Master’s Degree in Language
Studies from the University of Tlemcen. He is currently preparing a doctoral dissertation in
Didactics and Assessment in English Language Education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1417-7926