Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

EFL and the Key Competence-Based Curriculum in Romania. Do Children in Primary School Effectively Learn English?

Ligia Sarivan, National Center for Policies and Evaluation in Education (Romania)

Cornelia Novak, National Center for Policies and Evaluation in Education (Romania)


Our paper presents results from the key competence-based assessment that was carried out in 2019-2020 on a representative sample of grade 4 students at the end of primary education. In the main survey, the assessment instruments consisted of 6 test blocks in Romanian and 3 in English; these were combined in 15 booklets and administered according to a spiral pattern. The items focused on the elementary level descriptors in the Romanian curriculum framework that are derived from the provision in the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006). The English tests have been calibrated to fit A1 level, as stated in the national curriculum for primary school. The findings indicate that 56% of the students performed the test over the average, with a modal value of over 10% of the students who perform at 90% and above. The results from rural schools are significantly lower than the urban ones both as an average (more than 11% less achievement) and per category (10% less achievement in reading and about 14% discrepancy in writing). Very interesting comparisons are to be found between the level of achievement in Romanian and English when it comes to items that focus the learning to learn descriptors and cultural awareness and expression. For instance, self-assessment has similar levels of attainment in both languages. The same is noticed for original visual expression. Such results mark some positive outcomes of the key competence-based curriculum. The research could not unfortunately cover the oral components: the observation grid that had been piloted in the previous stage was not applied in the main survey because of time constraints and the pandemic. Nevertheless, the research offers an important base-line survey with crucial data for both the coming revision of the official curriculum and the innovation of practices to support the effective curriculum.

Keywords: key competences, language learning, primary education, official curriculum, effective curriculum.


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