Developments in assessment and teaching methodologies in modern languages in England and France in response to educational reform (1975-1985)

  • V.C. Orr

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This comparative study considers the main causative factors for change in recent years in the teaching of modern languages in England and France and seeks to contribute, in a general sense, to the understanding of change in comparable institutions. In England by 1975 the teaching of modern languages in the comprehensive schools was seen to be inappropriate to the needs of children of the whole ability-range. A combination of the external factor of the Council of Europe initiative in devising a needs-based learning approach for adult learners, and the internal factor of teacher-based initiatives in developing a graded-objectives learning approach for the less-able, has reversed this situation to some extent. The study examines and evaluates this reversal, and, in addition, assesses teachers' attitudes towards, and understanding of, the changes involved. In France the imposition of `la reforme Haby' in 1977 and the creation of `le college unique' were the main external factors for change. The subsequent failure of the reform and the socialist government's support of decentralisation policies returning the initiative for renewal to schools are examined and evaluated, as are the internal factors for changes in language-teaching - `groupes de niveau' and the creation of `equipes pedagogiques'. In both countries changes in the function of examinations at 15/16 plus are examined. The final chapter compared the changes in both education systems.
Date of AwardJun 1987
Original languageEnglish


  • reform
  • examinations
  • syllabuses
  • graded objectives
  • Groupe de Niveau

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