The syllabus is designed for the 9th grade Norwegian students aged 14. They have been studying English for 9 years. The class size is 15 boys and 12 girls. The Norwegian educational policy is based on the principle of the general equal rights to education for all members of society, irrespective of their social or cultural background and their place of residence. The main objective of the Norwegian schools is not only the introduction of knowledge and culture studies, but also satisfaction of some public requirements and ensuring the general welfare. At present, there is the system of the obligatory 13 years’ school training (from 6 to 19). The basic principles of the Norwegian school include, first of all, uniformity, providing the equal rights and opportunities for all pupils (Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, 2010).
As to the syllabus design, the needs of learners have been taken into account; it also corresponds to their interests and is suitable for the perception by the 14-year old children. The syllabus designed for this assignment is aimed at the development of the language skills and competencies for the period August - December (1 semester). The syllabus includes the following topics, namely Welcoming and Introduction, Short Story Unit and Poetry Unit. The type of syllabus is process-oriented. According to Nunan, the process-oriented syllabus is one of “the processes through which knowledge and skills will be gained by the learner” (Nunan, 1988, p. 40). It is concerned with the classroom process which stimulates learning, so what the syllabus designer has to do is to specify real world learning goals and learning tasks and activities (Nunan, 1988, p. 42).
The syllabus sets such targets as mastering reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The students will recognize what the process of learning represents and will be able to assess themselves. Moreover, the syllabus corresponds to the goals and aims of the English Subject Curriculum for the Norwegians. The given syllabus allows a teacher to present 6 stages for students before the beginning of assessment: knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and self-estimation. The goals of the syllabus are aimed at communication. Communication is achieved through listening, reading, writing, prepared oral production and spontaneous oral interaction, including the use of appropriate communication strategies. The syllabus is aimed at mastering of oral skills, such as listening, speaking, and reading skills (McMillan, 2011).
The aim of the syllabus assessment is to monitor the correspondence of the learning progress of students with the declared learning goals and outcomes. The assessment of these results supposes that the syllabus has definite tasks and goals. There are the following assessment questions, which allow estimating the effectiveness of the syllabus:
- How effective is the syllabus as a whole?
- How does it contribute to the English Subject Curriculum for the Norwegians?
The assessment criteria for the given syllabus were chosen according to the main criteria for the choice of the assessment tools:
1. Assessment tools are based on the educational goals of the syllabus.
2. The process of the work fulfillment is goal-oriented and assessment-transparent.
3. Assessment tools are understandable for students.
4. Assessment tools are chosen together with students before the beginning of the process of education.
The syllabus is constructed in such a way to make assessment as transparent and understandable for the students as possible. The introduction of different assessment tools within the syllabus has a number of essential advantages such as the provided objectivity of assessment, due to the profitability of time cost, and students and teachers’ energy costs (White, 1988).
Portfolio is one of the most widespread new technologies for the assessment of students’ works. It is chosen as one of the main assessment tools for all units of the syllabus. Portfolio is a collection of students’ works for a certain period (usually for a semester or academic year), which is considered either from the view of the student’s progress or from the standpoint of conformity to the training program and educational standards. It allows seeing the progress of students in the language and estimates various skills and abilities. Moreover, the assessment tools applied within the syllabus allow students to assess personal results - self-assessment or assess of their peers’ results - peer-assessment. This tool is rather effective on the stage of development of skills and mastering knowledge because it allows the students to acquire the skills to self-assessment and self-criticism. According to Nunan, when students try to find out if their skills and knowledge meets certain criteria, they gradually become autonomous by learning not only how to evaluate their learning, but also how to plan and monitor it more effectively (Nunan, 1988, p.116).
Both formal and informal types of assessment are used while assessing the results of the work at the given syllabus. Formal assessment is represented in the form of assessment criteria for each topic of the syllabus. Informal assessment is presented in the oral reward and different ways of moral motivation.