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Teachers evaluation on lets go 1a second edition for grade 3 at primary schools in north vietnam



M.A. Minor Programme Thesis

Field : English Methodology
Code : 60 14 10

Hanoi, 2010




M.A. Minor Programme Thesis

: English Methodology
: 60 14 10
Supervisor : Vũ Thu Thủy, M.A

Hanoi, 2010


English for primary


English Language Teaching

Let’s Go Second Edition

LG 2nd

Oxford University Press


MOET Ministry of Education
CLT Communicative Language Teaching
TPR Total Physical Response

MAT Model Action Talk


Figure 1: The materials evaluation model proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987:98)
Figure 2: The materials evaluation model proposed by Littlejohn (1998:3)
Figure 3: Teacher’s Opinions on Objectives of the Book
Figure 4: Teacher’s Opinions on the Appropriateness of the Topics in the Material
Figure 5: Teacher survey results on the tasks and activities in the material in Rural Area
Figure 6: Teacher survey results on the tasks and activities in the material in Urban Area
Table 1: The grade 3 syllabus prescribed by the MOET
Table 2: Comparison of communicative functions as defined by the curriculum and covered in
Let’s Go 1A
Table 3: Macro-skills and proportions comparison

Table 4: Teacher Survey Results on time allocation of the book
Table 5: Teacher Survey Results on balance of skills offered in the book
Table 6: Teacher Survey Results on reading and writing skills offered in the book
Table 7: Teacher Survey Results on speaking and listening skills offered in the book
Table 8: Teacher Survey Results on suitability of the Language Points offered in the book
Table 9: Teacher Opinions on Vocabulary offered in the book.
Table 10: Teacher Survey Results on Pronunciation provided by the material
Table 11: Teachers’ opinions on the suitability of culture elements in the material
Table 12: Teachers’ opinions on the values hint by the material.
Table 13: Teachers’ opinions on the supplementary materials of the book
Table 14: Teachers’ opinions on the general look of the material
Table 15: Teachers’ opinions on the accessibility of the book’s price
Table 16: Teachers’ opinions on the methodology applied in the material

Certificate of originality of the thesis
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables
Table of Content
1. Back ground to the Study and Statement of the Problem
1.1. Theoretical background
1.2. Practical background
2. Statement of problem
3. Aims of the study
4. Research Question
5. Theoretical bases of the Study
6. Scope of Study
7. Overview of Study
1.1. Material in Language Teaching and Learning
1.1.1. Role of Materials
1.1.2. Types of Materials
1.2. Materials Evaluation
1.2.1. Why is evaluation
1.2.2. Definitions of Materials Evaluation
1.2.3. Types of Materials Evaluation
1.2.4. Materials Evaluators
1.2.5. Principles of Materials Evaluation Approach to Materials Evaluation Models for Materials Evaluation Criteria for Materials Evaluation
1.3. Summary
2.1. Primary school English education in the North Vietnam: Policy and Practice
2.2. Research Design
2.3. Research Method
2.3.1. Document Analysis


2.3.2. Survey Questionnaire
2.4. Data Collection Procedures
2.4.1. Document Analysis
2.4.2. Questionnaires for the Teachers
3.1. Course Requirement
3.1.1. Objectives of the Course
3.1.2. Teaching Method
3.1.3. The primary school English education syllabus
3.2. Document Analysis
3.2.1. The Material Descriptions
3.2.2. The Suitability of the Material to the Objectives of the Course
3.2.3. Matches between curriculum requirements and textbook’s coverage in
terms of input
3.2.4. The Appropriateness of the Material to the Methodology Requirements
3.3. Survey Results
3.3.1. The Suitability of the Material to the Objectives of the Course
3.3.2. The Suitability of the Textbook to the Content required by the Course
3.3.3. The Appropriateness of the Material to the Teaching Methods applied
3.4. Discussion
1. Summary of Previous Parts
2. Recommendations
3. Limitation of the study
4. Conclusion


1.1. Background to the study and statement of problem
1.1.1. Theoretical background
According to McDonough and Shaw (1993) no set of materials is likely to be perfect; it
cannot serve equally for the requirements of every classroom setting. Teachers should not
merely know to use it but how useful it can be. They must evaluate its strengths and
weaknesses. So William (1983) suggests that English language teachers need to know the
principles of materials evaluation. The ability of materials evaluation is considered to be a
very important professional activity for all EFL teachers.
Although the materials are good, they will never be perfect for every teaching situation. They
will always need adapting, modifying or supplementing in order to improve the teaching and
learning results. The theoretical basis for materials evaluation and adaptation has been
mentioned in a number of works by Cunningsworth (1995), by Hutchinson and Waters
(1987), McDonough and Shaw (1993) and by Littlejohn (1998). Therefore, evaluation can be
carried out with any materials by any evaluator.
1.1.2. Practical background The English program at Primary schools in Vietnam
The English course for pupils at primary is compulsory at the beginning of grade 3
continuing at grade 4 and grade 5. Schools can optionally choose to teach between Let’s
Learn English by Education Publishing House and Let’s Go by Oxford University Press with
either 2 periods per week or 4 periods per week depending on each province’s application. The English teaching material
Let’s Go (2nd Edition) series has been used since 2000. It contains 4 main units for each
level 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B. After every two units there is one review unit. Each unit is organized
by a set pattern of components including Let’s Talk, Let’s Sing, Learn, Let’s Move, Let’s
Listen, Let’s Review and Let’s Learn Some More. The first component, Let’s Talk,
introduces functional dialogues. In Let’s Sing, an interactive song based on the dialogue is
offered. Let’s Listen gives test and unit review. In Let’s Move, there are classroom


commands and action verbs. Let’s Learn instructs new grammar; Let’s Review offers further
review after every units and Let’s Learn Some More revises related grammatical structures.
1.1.3. Statement of problem
Let’s Go 2nd series are written and published by the British. The series have been introduced
into Vietnam primary as a course book used for grade 3, grade 4 and grade 5. However, the
series have never been carefully evaluated on their appropriateness in terms of content,
methodology and physical properties and matter of cost are also exclusive. This fact
motivates me to do this survey research. In the scope of this study, the evaluation is carried
out with Let’s Go 1A student book used for grade 3 in the Northern provinces of Vietnam.
1.2. Aims of the study
The study aims to evaluate Let’s Go Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2000) to
determine whether the employment of this material is appropriate in the context of teaching
at primary schools in the North of Vietnam. Hopefully, the findings of the study will provide
the English teaching staff at primary schools with data about what changes to be made to
improve the effectiveness of the material for future use.
1.3. Research question
The study aims to answer to the following question:
To what extent does Let’s Go 1A Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2000) satisfy the
course requirements in terms of the audience, aims, content and methodology for grade 3 at
primary schools in the North of Vietnam?
1.4. Theoretical bases of the study
In the material evaluation, evaluators have to base on a great number of criteria such as
audience, aims, content, methodology, physical appearance, cultural bias, authenticity and so
on. And for each set of criteria, various aspects of the material need to be taken into account.
In this study, the researcher focuses on the following criteria:
 Audience (in term of English level, the usefulness and the appeal of the material as
perceived by the audience)
 Aims of the material and the course
 Content (in term of language points covered, skills, text types and topics)
 Methodology (in term of types of tasks and exercises, and teaching-learning


Scope of Study
The study is intended to follow the above theoretical bases which seek the answer to the
appropriateness of the book Let’s Go 1 A Second Edition in terms of objectives, content and
teaching methodology with the course requirements. The study is also hopefully expected to
compare teaching of this book in two different area of North Vietnam: urban area and rural
area with a districted data from the most distinguished sample of the participants. By that,
the research can draw her conclusion on the suitability of this book with the teachers and
students of these areas.
1.6. Overview of the study
The study is organized into 5 main chapters as follows:
Chapter 1 discusses the background to the study and statement of problem, the aims, the
research question and the overview of the thesis. Chapter 2 presents a review of literature,
concentrating on the issues related to material evaluation. It first discusses the roles and types
of materials in language teaching. Then, it presents major issues in materials evaluation,
including definition of materials evaluation, reasons for materials evaluation, types of
materials evaluation, principles for materials evaluation, materials evaluation procedure as
well as criteria for materials evaluation. The next part is about materials adaptation. The
chapter also mentions some previous studies. Chapter 3 describes the research methodology
adopted in the study, the data collection instruments, the subjects, as well as the data
collection procedures. Chapter 4 discusses the findings of the study, pointing out the
strengths and weaknesses of the material. Chapter 5 suggests solutions to improve the
material as well as directions for further research and concludes the study.


Chapter two aims to establish a theoretical framework for the evaluation of Let’s Go 1A
Second Edition series (Oxford University Press, 2000). In the first part, the chapter deals
with teaching materials which focuses on the role of materials in language teaching and
types of materials. The second part addresses issues in materials evaluation which involve
reasons for materials evaluation, definition of materials evaluation, teacher’s role in material
evaluation, models for materials evaluation, and criteria for evaluation.

Materials in Language Teaching and Learning

2.1.1. Role of materials:
There is no doubt about the role of materials in English Second Language class (ESL). There
have been many authors spending times and efforts to seek the answer to the role of teaching
materials. There is a general view to see that materials play a positive part in teaching and
learning second language. According to Jack C. Richard (2001) ―Teaching materials are a
key component in most language programs. Whether the teacher uses textbooks,
institutionally prepared material, or his or her own materials, instructional materials generally
serve as basis for much of the language input learners receive and the language practice in
the classroom. In the case of inexperienced teachers, materials may also serve as a form of
teacher training – they provide ideas on how to plan and teach lesson as well as formats that
teachers can use. Much of the language which occurs throughout the world today could not
take place without the extensive use of commercial materials‖.
Hutchingson and Torres (1994: 315) believe: ―…No teaching-learning situation, it seems, is
complete until it has its relevant textbook‖. Sheldon (1998:237) even puts a lot of emphasis
on definite essential role of materials when saying: ―textbooks represent the visible heart of
any ELT program‖. Cunningsworth (1995, 7) summarizes the role of materials (particularly
course books) in language teaching as follow:
Firstly, ―they are psychologically essential for students since their progress and achievement
can be measured concretely when we use them‖. Secondly, ―published materials have more
credibility than teacher than teacher-generated or ―in-house‖ materials‖. Thirdly, ―textbook
are efficient in terms of time and money, and they can and should allow for adaptation and
improvisation‖. Fourthly, ―textbooks yield a respectable return on investment, are relatively


inexpensive and involve low lesson preparation time, whereas teacher-generated materials
can be time, cost and quality defective‖. Fifthly, ―…the potential which that textbooks have
for serving several additional roles in the ELT curriculum…they are an effective resource for
self-directed learning, an effective resource for presentation material, a source of ideas and
activities, a reference source for students, a syllabus where they reflect pre-determined
learning objective, and support for less experienced teachers who have yet to gain in
confidence‖( http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/Litz_thesis.pdf). Dudley-Evans and St. John
(1998, 170-171) suggest that for teachers of ESP course, materials serve the following
functions as a source of language, a learning support, motivation and stimulation or for
Obviously, positive side of teaching materials is widely supported by the theorist by showing
extensive benefits that it offers both teachers and students in ELT. However, some authors do
not necessarily to accept this trend. They try to prove against viewpoint by saying that inhouse materials have more strong points than published materials. Robinson (1991) suggests
three advantages of in-house materials in terms of specification and appropriateness, validity,
flexibility and suitability of methodology. However, Robinson (1991) agrees that in-house
materials making is costly and time-consuming. There is also a worry that the authors of inhouse materials sometimes try to take published materials for their ideas that have been
rejected as Swales cited in (Robinson, 1991: 58).
To balance the benefits of using published materials as well as in-house materials, once
either that kind of materials is used for teaching and learning, they should both be careful
judged by either the insiders or outsides so that its appropriateness to the intended teachers
and students is proved.
2.1.2. Types of Materials
There are different types of materials designed in terms of forms and purposes. "The teacher
can use textbook, institutionally prepared materials or his/her own prepared materials."
(Richards, 2001: 251). The former is referred to as published textbooks and the latter, inhouse materials (Robinson, 1991). As a rule, there is an argument about the advantages and
disadvantages of these two main types of materials. Some believe that authentic materials are
preferred over created materials because of authentic and real-world language input in
comparison to the contrived content of much created materials. Richard cited in Phillips and


Shettlesworth 1978; Clarke 1989; Peacock 1997 as follows: ―They have a positive effect on
learner motivation; they provide authentic cultural information about the target culture; they
provide exposure to real language; they relate more closely to learner’s needs; they support
a more creative approach to teaching”
On the other hand, there are arguments against authentic materials. Swales (cited in
Robinson, (1991: 57) indicated that textbooks are: ―less self-insufficient in practice materials
and in coverage of skill areas‖. As a consequence of that, Swales believes that textbooks
alone are not enough, and more supplementary materials are needed. As for created
materials, there are some disadvantages, too. The most critics about it may fall into its
financial expense and time-consumption as well as not trustful language resources.
Within scope of this study, published textbook will be addressed more thoroughly than
created materials (in-house materials). Published textbooks or commercial textbook together
with other components such as workbook, cassette, CDs, teacher’s guide are the most
popular form of teaching materials in ELT. Richard (2001: 254) cited Haines (1996: 27)
characterizing differences between past and current trends in English language textbook (see
Appendix 5)
Textbook are used in different ways in language program such as: grammar textbook, writing
textbook, reading,

speaking textbook, listening textbook in companion with CDs or

audiocassette. ―The use of commercial textbook in teaching offers both advantages and
disadvantages which depend on how they are used and the context for their use‖. Richard
(2001: 254).
The availability for use is one of most significant advantage of these materials. "A textbook
is complete not just in the physical sense but in the sense that the whole term's or year's
course is available to the students at once" (Robinson, 1991:58). Besides, Richard (2001:
254) points out that textbook provide structure and syllabus for a program. They are efficient
and help standardize instructions; maintain quality; provide a variety of learning resources,
language models and input. They can train teachers and are visually appealing.
Despite the fact that textbooks offer a wide range of benefits, they also bear critics on
negative effects as they may not contain inauthentic language; distort content; not reflect
student’s needs or can deskill teachers. In addition, textbooks are expensive, too that prevent
both teachers and learners get close to them. That is the reason why ―the impact of textbooks


on the program, on teachers, and on learners has to be carefully assessed‖ (Richard, 2001:

Materials Evaluation

2.2.1. Why is materials evaluation?
It is important to see that no commercial textbook will ever be a perfect fit for a language
program. There are two factors which are involved in the development of commercial
textbook: those representing the interests of author, and those representing the interest of the
publisher (Byrd 1995, et al.1995). Due to those factors, a textbook should be more carefully
assessed by either its users or any outsiders who are not resulted from the subjective
autonomy. The second reason for materials evaluation is that there can be a need for
materials evaluation to determine whether the materials which have been chosen works for
that situation after it has been used for a period of time (Ellis, 1997). Robinson (1991)
concludes that evaluation is used as a part of quality control. The results obtained from the
evaluation of the material will also lead to important decisions on the use of the material in
the future time: should it be used again or not? Or what should be changed to the material to
make it more effective and efficient for the students and the learning context?
2.2.2. Definitions of materials evaluation
There are many definitions of material evaluation by the authors. Most of them agree that
evaluation of materials plays a key role in ELT curriculum development. ―Whether materials
are found in publisher’s catalogs, ―Books Received‖ sections of journal, or teacher’s selves,
firsthand examination will eventually be necessary to determine the suitability of materials
for a particular program. This process might safely be called materials evaluation.‖ Brown
(1995: 159).
Tom Huthcinson & Alan Waters (1987: 97) defines that evaluation is basically a matching
process: matching needs to available solutions. If this matching is to be done objectively as
possible, it is best to look at the needs and solutions separately. In the final analysis, any
choice will be made on subjective ground.‖ And materials evaluation is the process with
―attempts to measure the value of materials‖. Giving a short but significant definition of
materials evaluation, Tomlimson (1983: 3) explains it as ―systematic appraisal of the value of
materials in relation to their objectives and the objectives of the learners using them‖.


In general, materials evaluation helps to show how well the materials are actually fulfilling
the need. It is a process of judging the fitness of materials for particular objectives in a
particular context. Materials evaluation is beneficial for anyone who may directly and
passively uses it for different purposes. By evaluation of materials, teachers, learners or even
sponsors can decide on whether the current materials meet their needs or are appropriate with
the intended objectives and requirements of the course as Brown (1995: 159-160) concludes
―If teachers individually select the materials that are to be adopted and ordered for their
courses, they should be given as much information as possible to draw on in making those
decisions. If the entire faculty teaching is given a course to make collective decisions, they
will also need information which their solutions are based on.‖
2.2.3. Types of Evaluation
Basing on different purposes of evaluation, it is divided into three sub types which are:
Formative evaluation, preliminary evaluation and summative evaluation.
As the first type of evaluation, it is defined: ―Evaluation may be carried out as a part of the
process of program development in order to find out what is working well, and what is not,
and what problems need to be addressed‖ (Richard 2001: 288). Therefore, Formative
evaluation is carried out during the life of a course or project and results obtained can be used
to modify what is being done. Or in other words, such results may suggest the development
of materials in the future.
The second type of evaluation is preliminary one. This is carried before a course begins in
order to select the most appropriate materials for a particular group of learners. Preliminary
evaluation is aimed to show which of the published materials parts or aspects needed to
match evaluators’ needs. ―..Determining a set of criteria which are used to reach a decision
regarding which book to adopt and how it needs to be adapted‖ (Ellis, cited in Tomlinson
The final type of evaluation is Summative evaluation which is carried out at the end of or
after the course. This is made to conclude the values or drawbacks that the materials have
after having been used.


2.2.4. Materials Evaluators
It is common to assume that two types of participants are typically involved in evaluation –
insiders and outsiders (Richard, 2001). Insiders refer to teachers, students, and anyone else
closely involved in the development and implementation of the program. It is believed that
formative evaluation is appropriate with teachers who are directly involved in teaching,
monitoring the materials as it is in use and giving the right judgments to what difficulties or
effectiveness that occur during their operation with it. Students, on the other hand is one of
the key participants in the summative evaluation of the program because of ―..providing
evidence of their gains in language proficiency and completing evaluations on the way the
program was taught and the relevance of what they have learned to their needs‖( Richard
2001: 295).
The insiders are regarded as the key factors of evaluation process in ―designing and carrying
out the evaluation, because as a consequence, they will have a greater degree of commitment
to acting on its results.‖ (Richard 2001: 295).
The other type of evaluator – outsiders is those who do not involve in teaching and learning.
They are said to be quite ―fresh‖ and ―objective‖ in evaluation. However, there are still
drawbacks while evaluation is made by the outsiders. They do not dealt with real teachinglearning situation so they cannot be sure about teaching methodology, learner’s needs,
teaching and learning context.
Robinson (1991) states that they may be unsympathetic and it may take more time for them
to get to know the local situation such as learner’s needs, facilities as well as constrains.
Therefore, they may not have exact judgments’ and real recommendations; or maybe what
they find has already been found. Dudley – Evans (1998). Within scope of this research, the
study will be addressed to insider participant who are the teachers at primary schools in the
North of Vietnam.
2.2.5. Principles of materials evaluation
a. Approaches to Materials Evaluation
Historically, there have been approaches suggested in field of the materials evaluation. These
approaches can be differentiated from each other basing on research paradigms. Ellis, R
(1998) offers ―objective model‖ and the ―responsive evaluation‖ which are based on


quantitative and qualitative point respectively. Besides, Ansary, H., & Babaii, E., (2002)
mention ―checklist approach to textbook evaluation‖.
b. Models of Materials Evaluation
Evaluation model proposed by Ellis (1997) (A Micro-Evaluation)
Ellis(1997) defined that micro-evaluation is the evaluation of one particular teaching task
which the evaluator has a special interest in. In this model Ellis suggests the practice of a
detailed empirical evaluation and focuses on evaluation at the task level with reference to its
actual teaching learning context. Purpose of this model is to identify the match between task
planned and task in use. He also suggests that dimensions focused on macro-evaluation (e.g.
approach, purpose, focus, scope, evaluators, timing, types of information) can also be
applicable to micro evaluation. Steps involved in the evaluation model are introduced as
below by Ellis, too:
Firstly, choosing a task to follow; secondly, describing the task which requires the
specification of the content of a task in terms of input, procedures, language activities, and
outcome; thirdly, planning the evaluation with reference to the dimensions above; fourthly,
collecting information (before the task is used, while it is being used and/or on completion of
the task) about how the task was performed, what learning took place as a result of
performing the task, and teacher's and learners' opinions about the task; fifthly, quantitative
and qualitative analysis of the information collected; then, reaching conclusions relating to
what has been discovered as a result of the evaluation of the task, and making
recommendations for future teaching; and finally, writing the report.
A micro evaluation may be more manageable than a macro evaluation (Ellis,1997). However,
application of this requires more time and efforts in order to provide basis for subsequent
macro evaluation, there may be a need for a series of micro evaluation. And this type of
evaluation can only be conducted when the materials are being used in the classroom.
Evaluation model proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987) ( A Macro- Evaluation)
According to Hutchinson and Waters, the evaluation process is divided into four major steps
which are: defining criteria, subjective analysis, objective analysis and matching.
A thorough look into these steps we can see in Figure 1 below:


Define criteria
On what bases will you judge materials?
Which criteria will be more important?

Subjective analysis

Objective analysis

What realizations of the criteria do

How does the material being you

want in your course?

evaluated realize the criteria?

How far does the material match your needs?
Figure 1: The materials evaluation model proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987:98)

Evaluation model proposed by Cunningsworth (1995)
Cunningsworth (1995) presents a checklist for textbook evaluation and selection organized
under the following perspectives: language content; selection and grading of language items,
presentation and practice of new language items, developing language skills and
communication abilities; supporting materials; and motivation and the learners. Dealing with
evaluating the material's language content, parts of language system(form, function, etc. ),
language skills, language styles in the material will be considered whether they are taught in
the materials as well as whether the language style matched to social context and are taught
fully and systematically. For selection and grading of language items, examining this means
pointing out the kind of syllabus and approach the material follows as well as how the
language content is graded and recycled throughout the material. Evaluation of presentation
and practice of new language items means finding out how the new grammatical and lexical
items are presented and practiced in the material as well as the comments given on these
presentation and practice. The last perspective in Cunningsworth(1995) model is developing
language skills and communicative abilities which evaluates the natural of reading texts with


accompanying exercises or listening material with accompanying exercises or natural of
writing exercises included in the material. Furthermore, activities offered during the lesson
such as activities for free production of spoken English or for integrating language skills are
also taken into account.
Evaluation model proposed by McDonough and Shaw (1993) (A Combination of
Macro- and Micro- Evaluation)
McDonough and Shaw (1993) propose a three stage evaluation model: external evaluation,
internal evaluation and overall evaluation (see Appendix 7). External evaluation is an
examination of the claims made for the whole materials by the author or publisher in aspects
of the cover of the book, the instructions and the table of contents. Benefit of this stage
evaluation is to help identify the potentially appropriateness of the materials. The internal
stage requires an in-depth look at the content of the course book to investigate aspects such
as skills, the grading exercises and tasks, the methodology, the teaching and learning
techniques used in the book, etc. Finally, the overall evaluation of the material aims at the
suitability of the material through considering factors such as the usability factor, the
generalizability, adaptability and flexibility.
From model ( see Appendix 7), it can be seen that if the external evaluation shows that the
materials are potentially appropriate the internal stage will be carried out. This model is timesaving. In case of inappropriate result from the external stage, there is no need to conduct the
next stage. Nevertheless, when the claims made by the author are not detailed enough, an
internal evaluation is also still.
Evaluation model proposed by Littlejohn (1998)
Littlejohn suggests a preliminary framework for materials analysis and evaluation as (see
Appendix 6). According to the framework, there are four different stages for material

evaluation. The first stage is to analyze the target situation and materials. The target situation
of use is analyzed in terms of the culture context, the institution, the course, the teachers and
the learners. The materials are analyzed to describe the aspects of design and aspects of
publication. The next stage is matching and evaluation which helps the evaluator to figure
out how appropriate the aspects of design and aspects of publication to the target situation of
use are. In the action stage, what can be done to improve the materials such as materials
adoption, reject, adaptation, supplementation, etc. will be carried out.

12 Summary
In summary, although the above models suggested by authors vary in the procedure and the
evaluators’ purposes, they will be useful to pursuit the appropriateness of the materials in
particular context or group of learners. Many other factors should also be taken into account
when the evaluator decides the model employed in her/his study such as: time availability,
facilities as well as matter of context. Depending on the evaluators’ purpose and other
requirements, a combination of models by Hutchinson and Waters and Cunningsworth will
be applied to this study.
Criteria for Materials Evaluation
Criteria are what evaluators use to "reach a decision regarding what needs to be evaluated"
Tomlinson (1998:220). They base on these criteria to make their comments and judgments.
Many scholars have set up methods of using checklist or guidelines in evaluation of
coursebooks. Among the theorists, Cunningsworth (1995) and Hutchinson and Waters (1987)
offer very the most popular sets of criteria.
Criteria defined by Cunningsworth (1995)
The criteria proposed by Cunningsworth (1995:15-17) will be presented as following. Firstly,
they should correspond to learners' needs. They should match the aims and objectives of the
language learning program. Secondly, they should reflect the uses (present or future) which
learners will make of the language. They should be selected in order to help equip students to
use language effectively for their own purposes. Thirdly, they should take into account
students' needs as learners and should facilitate their learning processes, without
dogmatically imposing a rigid "method". Finally, they should have a clear role as a support
for learning. Like teachers, they mediate between the target language and the learner.
For the above criteria proposed by Cunningsworth, it seems to require more time and efforts
to proceed all aspects perceptively. Cunningsworth (1995) also suggests a checklist for
textbook evaluation and selection organized under the following categories: aims and
approaches, design and organization, language content, skills, topic, methodology, teacher’s
books and practical considerations.


Criteria defined by Hutchinson and Waters (1987)
Hutchinson and Waters (1987:99-104) suggest their checklist of criteria for subjective and
objective analysis in their process of materials evaluation. The checklist consists of some
main points such as: the audience, the aims, the content, the methodology and other criteria.
It is the fact that those evaluation criteria are clearly and thoroughly presented and the
research finds it easy to follow. The study is indented to follow these criteria; each criterion
will be discussed thoroughly by the research.


Chapter three starts with the description of real context of teaching and learning at primary
schools in the Northern provinces in Vietnam and the methodology employed in this study.
3.1. Primary school English education in North Vietnam: Policy and Practice
Despite the difficulties resulted from the history of wars, Vietnamese Government are soon
aware of the important role of English teaching and learning in the national economic and
social development. Since 1996, English has been applied in the pilot program from grade 3
to grade 5 as an optional subject by the Ministry of Education and is taught in every two
forty-five minute’s period per week at most of primary schools in Vietnam. A 10 year
English project from primary to secondary has recently been developed, in which, ―All
primary students will learn 2 periods per day in 2020. Primary students will learn a new
English program and 70% of them achieve level 1 according to Common European
Framework in 2020.‖ (Ministry of Education and Training, Strategy for Vietnam Education
Development in period from 2009 – 2020). However, the real situation of teaching and
learning English at primary reflects a lot of issues which involve quality of teacher;
textbooks as well as curriculum which are still hot topics in Viet Nam, especially in the
Northern provinces.
In fact, most of the students (except those from big cities and urban area) enter grade 3 with
innocent minds of English. They have no clear purpose in learning English and they
potentially learn English in a passive way under the instructions of their teacher. There are
popularly about 35 students in each class. Depending on each local condition, classroom is
equipped with or without facilities such as: blackboard, cassette, computer or projector. In
general, blackboard is the most popular equipment in classrooms in the North of Vietnam.
Therefore, applying modern teaching methodology for primary students becomes a great
obstacle when most schools are not well-equipped.
About the teachers, a lot of recent studies show that primary teachers in the Vietnam general,
in the North of Vietnam particular are not standard in both of quantity and quality. In reality,
not many provinces offer regular staff of English teachers. As a consequence of that, income


of English teachers at primary schools is low and they meet a lot of difficulties in giving their
whole minds to teaching. Primary English teachers are not standard in qualification
(certification of diploma, college, bachelor, M.A are equally accepted); they come from
different sources such as: colleges, universities and even foreign language centers. Therefore,
teachers differs each others in quality and methodology. This situation puts English teaching
and learning at primary schools on more challenges.
On the other hand, English is an optional subject and the parents have to afford expense. A
problem occurs from this policy is that English is developing in an unsystematic and
improper way. English develops where the parents approve and vice versa.
Another aspect of public dispute with regard to primary school English education is the
choice of English textbooks the target learners. Because it is an optional subject, the Ministry
of Education permits schools choose one of these materials for their teaching English: Let’s
Learn English , Let’s Go (2nd Ed), Go Go Love English and Phonics UK . All these
textbooks are written and published by international publishers, except for Let’s Learn
English which is written by the local author and published locally. Understandably, Let’s
Learn English is the most popular coursebook used within North Vietnam and Let’s Go is the
most popular imported material which has been used in the most economically advantaged
regions of Vietnam, especially in the urban areas where parents find the book affordable. So
far, there is still not any empirical study to evaluate the merits and demerits of these
materials. In other words, the choice of the coursebook remains impressionistic rather than
empirically. Most of the school managers as well as teachers and parents have little
knowledge about how to choose the right English textbook for their students. In some cases,
teachers and even students and their parents may prefer one particular textbook but they have
to use another one simply because they cannot afford the preferred one.
3.2. Research Design
Due to purpose of the study, the material will be evaluated in terms of objectives, content and
methodology. Because the textbook has been in use for several years, teachers have different
views about the textbook. Yet, there has been any empirical research on the extent to which
the textbook satisfies the course requirements and the learners. Therefore, this study reports
the results of an in-use evaluation by a group of 20 teachers who have been using the


3.3. Research Method
This part discusses the description of the instruments for data collection and the strong points
and weak points of the employed research methods.
The researcher chose document analysis and survey questionnaire. Of these two methods,
although document analysis played an important role which provided an in-depth analysis of
the material under evaluation, it was not the leading instrument. Thus, the survey
questionnaire was used as the principal instrument for collecting the data. The aims of the
questionnaire is to have teachers’ evaluative feedback of the material regarding various
aspects embedded in their teaching contexts such as the teacher, the learner, and teaching and
learning conditions as well as the course requirements.
3.3.1. Document analysis
Documents for evaluation can be in the forms of original planning documents, statements of
needs, aims and objectives coming from the syllabus and teaching materials themselves
(Robinson, 1991). Analysis of these documents is an essential because it offers informative
source for evaluation. One of the biggest advantages of document analysis is that in some
situations a document represents a reflection of reality, so it is useful for determining value,
interest or public attitudes (May, 2001).
In this research, document analysis or objective analysis plays an important role in collecting
data for this study because purpose of the study is to evaluate Let’s Go 1A 2nd Edition which
is published in 2000, Oxford University Press by R. Nakata, K. Frazier, B. Hoskins,
S.Wilkinson it has been using in Vietnam since 2005. The evaluator is also teacher who has
worked on the material and now conducts the evaluation study of the material which is based
on analysis of English textbook and MOET requirements of the course. Data got from
document analysis were the analysis of the appropriateness of the material in terms of the
objectives, content and methodology to decide if the material matches MOET requirements
of the course and suits teaching and learning context at primary school in the Northern
provinces in Vietnam.
3.3.2. The Survey Questionnaire
The survey questionnaire is one of the popular instruments used to collect data in social
science. According to Gilham (2000), applying this method gives researchers a lot of
advantages because pressure on correspondents, pressure of interview bias, and break in


analysis of answers will be decrease once employing it. On the other hand, some comments
against the use of questionnaires due to its failure to collect full questionnaires or some items
in the questionnaires which are left with.
Questionnaires items can be relatively closed or open ended. A closed item is one in which
the range of possible responses is determined by the researcher. An open item is one in which
the subject can decide what to say and how to say it. Questionnaires can consist entirely of
closed questions, entirely of open questions or a mixture of closed and open questions.
Nunan (1992: 143). Normally, survey questionnaires are designed to collect both teachers
and students comments and judgments about the textbook. Given the purpose of this study
which was to have teachers’ evaluative feedback on the textbook, a survey questionnaire is
considered appropriate.
A questionnaire(see Appendix 1) which was composed of thirty-six items was designed and
administered to a group of 20 primary school teachers who teach English to 3 rd graders at
different primary schools in the North of Vietnam. It was divided into 4 areas: question 1 to 3
are served to seek the appropriateness of the material with the outcome standard of the
course; question number 4 to 29 survey teacher’s ideas of the suitability of the material to the
content prescribed by the MOET; 4 questions from 30 to 34 collect teacher’s feedback of the
methodology in the book and the other two questions number 35, 36 to reflex other aspect of
the material such as: the price and so on. A Vietnamese translation and detailed instructions
were offered to the teacher for their convenience as well.
3.4 Data Collection Procedures
To collect data for the study, the coursebook was analysed. The analysis is based on the
criteria for materials evaluation established by Hutchinson and Walters (1987) against the
aims, objectives, content and methodology. In the first step of the analyzing stage, the aims,
the objectives set in the course book as well as the content of the book (divided into
grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing, listening and speaking sections) were analyzed.
The methodology underlying the coursebook was evaluated both indirectly through an
analysis of

the activities provided in the coursebook and directly through the

teaching/learning techniques suggested by the authors of the book
3.4.1 Document Analysis
So as to collect data for the research, an analysis of the material was carried out according to
the model suggested by Hutchinson and Water (1993) with 4 main steps which are:


(1). To identify the criteria for evaluation basing on the purposes of the study: the
objectives, content and methodology of the material.
(2) Subjective analysis: analysis of the course requirement on the material
(3) Objective analysis: basing on purposes of the study, the following aspects were
- The appropriateness of the material to the objectives of the course defined by MOET for the
- The appropriateness of the material to the content requirements of the course prescribed by
MOET in terms of: topic, language points (structures and vocabulary points), language
competence (macro skills and their proportion), micro skills, text-types.
- The appropriateness of the material to the methodology requirements of the course
(techniques used)
- The appropriateness of the materials in terms of physical properties and cost
(4) Matching: matching the analysis results with course requirements according to the above
mentioned criteria.
3.4.2 Questionnaire for the Teachers
A survey questionnaire(see Appendix 1) is designed to get feedback of the teachers on the
material in terms of the objectives, content and methodology.
The questionnaire consists of 4 parts. Part 1 offers 3 questions about the suitability of the
material objectives. There are 25 questions in part 2 dealing with the suitability of the
material in terms of content to the course requirements. Part 3 is designed with 4 questions to
investigate teacher’s ideas on the appropriateness of methodology offered by the book. The
last part is 1 question about other aspect of the material such as the price and a blank left for
teacher’s comments of the book and suggestions for better use. The questions are in the form
of multiple choices which is really simple and time saving for the teachers to fill in.
3.5 Participants
An important element in the evaluation procedure is the participant or evaluator that should
be considered. Many authors in the literature keep the belief that the evaluation should not
―be restricted to outside evaluator‖ (Tomlinson, 1998: 224). In this case, inside evaluators
may make use of their experience in the program context to carry out the evaluation.


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