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Compliance vs. improvement: Perception of quality in English Language education in Vietnamese higher education institutions- case studies of a public and private university

Compliance vs. improvement: Perception of quality in English Language education in Vietnamese higher education institutions- case studies of a public and private university
Compliance vs. improvement: Perception of quality in English Language education in Vietnamese higher education institutions- case studies of a public and private university
Quality in English language education provided by higher learning institutions is significant in today’s rapid expansion of higher education and the growing demand worldwide of non-English speakers with sufficient proficiency in English language, Vietnam being no exception. Nevertheless, there is scarcity of literature regarding quality in the provision of English language modules/courses/programmes, particularly at university level. Quality initiatives and measures have been developed, applied, and transferred from context to context but without adequate investigation into the underlying quality notions and assumptions. The aim of this research was to explore not only the conceptualisations of quality but assumptions about purposes and impact of quality activities on English language classroom practices.

Differing from the few predominantly survey-based studies in the field, a case study approach was applied to examine quality issues at national, institutional, and individual levels. The cases were one public and one private university in Vietnam, subcases including the Vice Chancellors, managers and staff in education management and quality practices, teachers, and students. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, classroom observations, and review of public policy and institutional documents, and analysed through a constant-comparative method.

Outcomes-, objectives-, and accountability-oriented quality management at the national level promoted a compliance culture and accountable quality at the institutional level. Institutions responded to public policies by implementing outcomes-based education model and standards-based quality methods relevant to organisational culture, institutional structure, quality capacity, and other QA conditions of the institution. Thinking and actions at institutional and individual levels were influenced by messages from written policies concerning quality in tertiary-level English language education. Importance was attached to learners’ attainment of institutionally pre-defined learning outcomes, and quality as threshold standards. Quality in learning outcomes did not lessen but was closely linked to quality in inputs and processes. Outcomes focus was presented in curriculum/syllabuses and materials reconstruction; teaching and learning arrangements, and test design and testing procedures. Standards orientation helped to assure immediate outcomes rather than continuous improvement in English language learning. Likewise, customer-focused/accountability-oriented quality measures had little connection with enhanced professionalism of English language teachers and did not always ensure contributing roles of the learners/employers in educational processes.
University of Southampton
Truong, Phuong, Thi Cuong
2d7ea931-a3f0-4bba-8349-85351c7670a7
Truong, Phuong, Thi Cuong
2d7ea931-a3f0-4bba-8349-85351c7670a7
Schulz, John
a587472f-dde4-42fb-bc32-08d208d7fdf7

Truong, Phuong, Thi Cuong (2019) Compliance vs. improvement: Perception of quality in English Language education in Vietnamese higher education institutions- case studies of a public and private university. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 293pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Quality in English language education provided by higher learning institutions is significant in today’s rapid expansion of higher education and the growing demand worldwide of non-English speakers with sufficient proficiency in English language, Vietnam being no exception. Nevertheless, there is scarcity of literature regarding quality in the provision of English language modules/courses/programmes, particularly at university level. Quality initiatives and measures have been developed, applied, and transferred from context to context but without adequate investigation into the underlying quality notions and assumptions. The aim of this research was to explore not only the conceptualisations of quality but assumptions about purposes and impact of quality activities on English language classroom practices.

Differing from the few predominantly survey-based studies in the field, a case study approach was applied to examine quality issues at national, institutional, and individual levels. The cases were one public and one private university in Vietnam, subcases including the Vice Chancellors, managers and staff in education management and quality practices, teachers, and students. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, classroom observations, and review of public policy and institutional documents, and analysed through a constant-comparative method.

Outcomes-, objectives-, and accountability-oriented quality management at the national level promoted a compliance culture and accountable quality at the institutional level. Institutions responded to public policies by implementing outcomes-based education model and standards-based quality methods relevant to organisational culture, institutional structure, quality capacity, and other QA conditions of the institution. Thinking and actions at institutional and individual levels were influenced by messages from written policies concerning quality in tertiary-level English language education. Importance was attached to learners’ attainment of institutionally pre-defined learning outcomes, and quality as threshold standards. Quality in learning outcomes did not lessen but was closely linked to quality in inputs and processes. Outcomes focus was presented in curriculum/syllabuses and materials reconstruction; teaching and learning arrangements, and test design and testing procedures. Standards orientation helped to assure immediate outcomes rather than continuous improvement in English language learning. Likewise, customer-focused/accountability-oriented quality measures had little connection with enhanced professionalism of English language teachers and did not always ensure contributing roles of the learners/employers in educational processes.

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Phuong Truong completed thesis-final - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: April 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433126
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433126
PURE UUID: e1ff90b8-7ae5-455b-b00a-5676f8e55155

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 08 Aug 2019 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Phuong, Thi Cuong Truong
Thesis advisor: John Schulz

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