Determinants and issues in student achievement in English at the Lao Secondary Education Level

| March 25, 2008
Title
Determinants and issues in student achievement in English at the Lao Secondary Education Level

Keywords: English achievement, Influential factors, Secondary education, Laos

Authors
Souvannasy Bouangeune
National University of Laos

Masashi Sakigawa
Hiroshima University, Japan

Yukiko Hirakawa
Hiroshima University, Japan

Bio Data
Souvannasy Bouangeune, an instructor of English, has been teaching English at the Department of English, Faculty of Letters, National University of Laos for ten years. His major is English Language Teaching. He holds an M.A. in English Language Education from Hiroshima University. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education and Culture, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation at Hiroshima University in Japan.

Masashi Sakigawa is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education and Culture, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation at Hiroshima University in Japan. His major is educational development in Asian countries, especially Vietnam.

Yukiko Hirakawa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Culture, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation at Hiroshima University in Japan. Her fields of interest are educational planning, process of educational improvement and developing higher order cognitive skills. She is now working to improve English education in the Department of English, National University of Laos.

Abstract
English language education was introduced into Lao secondary schools in 1986 under the Chintanakan Mai (new way of thinking) policy. Since then, the demand for it has been steadily increasing. This demand, however, has not been matched by a corresponding quality improvement. Although it is widely recognized that Lao secondary school students achievement in English is not very impressive, there is no actual data to support this claim. In order to improve Lao secondary school students proficiency in English, this research aimed to ascertain the students level of English and to identify the factors which might impact on their achievement. For this purpose, an English test and questionnaire was administered to 1170 grade 5 students in secondary schools. This accounts for 3.1% of all grade 5 students in Laos. The results suggest that 1) English language education in Lao secondary schools should focus more on the learning of basic vocabulary, and 2) the content of the textbooks should be more basic.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 10 Issue 1