A study on vocabulary content alignment between the English Language National Curriculum and the standardized test TOEIC Bridge
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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the way in which alignment can be established between the English Language National Curriculum (ELNC) and the SIMCE Inglés test. To that purpose, alignment is analysed by observing how much of the content of vocabulary established in the ELNC is covered in the SIMCE Inglés assessment tool. The vocabulary content takes the form of 250 word families taken from the General Service List (MINEDUC, 2009), and four Semantic Fields to which vocabulary can be related. In order to assess the alignment between this content and an international standardized test, the alignment methodology proposed by Webb (1997) was applied within the domain of Depth of Knowledge. A specimen of the TOEIC Bridge test was chosen to apply Webb’s methodology and see whether alignment could be established. Results of the study indicated a low degree of alignment between ELNC and TOEIC Bridge test within the domain of vocabulary. Most importantly, the study also revealed important design problems of the ELNC regarding the way in which it establishes expectations regarding the teaching of vocabulary content. These problems make the evaluation of lexical content in ELNC very difficult. To overcome some of these problems, an ad hoc procedure was designed by the researchers that responded to the design features of the lexical content in the ELNC. Results from this procedure confirmed the design problems of the ELNC, reflected in a very small degree of alignment between the ELNC and the TOEIC Bridge test specimen analyzed. Based on these results, suggestions are proposed to improve the design of the Chilean curriculum in order to properly assess its contents and the degree of alignment it must have with its corresponding assessment tool.
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