think about courses included in M.A. English Translation curriculum?
3. What do students and instructors think about the arrangement of the courses in the current M.A. English Translation curriculum?
4. What do students and instructors think about types of assessments given to students during or at the end of the current M.A. English Translation curriculum?
1.4. Operational Definition of the Key Terms
1.4.1. Instructional objectives
The concept mainly considered as a series of specific and measurable objectives defined to meet the needs of students. Ammans (2003) believed that instructional objective is a statement of purpose that is derived by educators from the general purpose stated by the group that controls the educational enterprise.
The term curriculum in the present study mostly refers to the long-term written plan that provides a summary outline of a course of study or of a specified teaching program which represents the totality of ideas and activities in an educational program within a specified educational system (kearns, 2006).
1.4.3. Curriculum Evaluation
Evaluation was conceptualized by Tyler (1949) as a process essential to curriculum development. The purpose of evaluation in the current study is to determine the extent to which the curriculum had achieved its stated goals and to identify the “strength and weaknesses in the curriculum” (Gredler 1996).
1.5. Significance of the Study
According to Nation and Macalister (2010), “needs are not always clear and are always changing so it is important that needs are looked at from a variety of perspectives at a variety of times”. In this regard, in evaluating educational programs, analyzing learners and market’ needs is of outmost significance. Without an effective evaluation program it is impossible to know whether students have learned, whether teaching has been effective, or how best to address students learning needs. Brown (1989) felt that continuous evaluation should always be done for revision of all or some of the elements in the curriculum plan. Regarding this fact, the present study attempts to evaluate the current curriculum of M.A English Translation Program in Iranian universities based on Tyler’s Objective Model (1949). By the result of this study the researcher hopes to make clear the educational goals that need to be meet through the program of M.A. English Translation, also the study tries to mention whether the stated learning objectives adequately prepare students with the knowledge and skill required to be successful in different translation professions in the market. Moreover the study is going to explore the areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in education in English Translation at M.A level. Finally, this evaluation study may help administrators make relevant changes, additions and deletions to the program.
1.6. Limitations and Delimitations
In any kind of research to conduct, some limitations and delimitations may exist. Of course, in the process of evaluation, the influence of some factors cannot be controlled by the researcher, so they have to limit their study. The study relies on only the information that the students and instructor’s provide in their questionnaires and also instructors’ interviews. The students might have been unwilling to express their genuine ideas about the questions, in addition, during the face to face interview with the instructors some respondent may not have truthfully answered the questions that they find sensitive and sometimes to share their experience and knowledge to the inquiry.
The study also has some delimitation. The first delimitation is that the focus of the study was to M.A. students of English Translation and the other levels were not taken into account. Moreover, some of the students and instructors did not accept to participate in this study.
Review of Literature
There has been a great deal of evaluating studies aiming at improving the quality of educational programs. However, the studies related tothe evaluation vary significantly in terms of their purpose, their methodologyand their emphasis. In some studies related to evaluation, the focus is placedonly on some of the components of the curriculum, rather than the curriculum as a whole. In some studies parts of curriculum has been evaluated such as the methodology of teaching and the materials which is used. Research has shown that evaluation is an important part ofcurriculum development and student perception is an important source forevaluation.Cronbach (1963) pointed out that the evaluation process should be focused on gathering and reporting information that could help decision making in an educational program and curriculum development.Also, many researches have been focused on student needs and determined the effectiveness or success of the program depending on how much those needs are met. The aim of the present study was to determine the educational needs of English Language Translation students and the effectiveness of their present curriculum. Proportional to this purpose, the related background was reviewed and presented here in order to construct the research on a solid theoretical foundation.
2.2. Translation Studies in Iran
The first translation movement in Iran, “the Foundation Movement”, which was triggered by the order of Cyrus the Great, helped him establish the Persian Empire and its identity, expand his territory and deliver Cyrus’s liberal message to the peoples of ancient world. The second translation movement, called “the Revival Movement”, in the Sassanian era was a cultural and scientific one aimed at acquiring knowledge, guaranteeing the empire’s preservation and approaching proactively towards world affairs. It was used to introduce Iranian culture, art and ideology to the other nations and therefore revive Iranian cultural influence. After the Arab invasion, the third translation movement or “the Survival Movement”, was initiated by massive and heroic efforts by Iranian scholars and men of letters to sustain the Iranian culture and resulted in the formation of a dynamic and patriotic translation movement for almost three hundred years. The fourth and final translation movement, called “the Modernization Movement”, which is widely regarded as a translation Renaissance in Iran started in the second half of the 19th century and was the beginning of great political and ideological transformations in the country that triggered the modernization process and the constitutional revolution.
The education of translation at academic level started in 1973 in Tehran as a higher education center titled as ‘College of Translation’ was established to train competent translators (OmidJafari, 2013). After Revolution (1979) this school was substituted by AllamehTabatabaei University in Tehran in 1983. The instruction of this major as a specialized one has continued since that time and spread to some other universities across the country because it has been needed to deal with translation major more academically and systematically as global communication has become more popular and necessary with the advent of the Internet and satellites and Iran has been also so dependent on translation of latest researches and books published in developed countries to advance its science. There are now nine postgraduate and two doctoral programs of translation in this country to prepare good translators and instructors of translation for near and far future.
2.3. Evaluation and its Objectives
The notion of evaluation has a long history. It has been defined as the systematic and scientific process determining the extent to which an action or set of actions were successful in the achievement of pre-determined objectives.
Evaluation involves measurement of adequacy and effectiveness of a specific program. Moreover, evaluation has been the object of study in educational science. The field of evaluation has gradually broadened to the extent that it now encompasses not only examinations but also the educational system as a whole. In the pedagogical context, evaluation has traditionally been equated with measuring in order to judge; according to this perspective, the evaluator is therefore a judge, while the person evaluated has to submit to the evaluator’s authority, which is not always either just or objective. Evaluation was later to become an integral part of pedagogical practice, no longer concerned only exclusively with examinations. Thus, the student’s knowledge was evaluated, but so too was the functioning of both, the student and the school system in general.According to Tyler (1950), the evaluation process mainly consists in determining to which extent the education objectives principally aim at changing human beings, that is the objective is to cause desirable changes in students’ behaviors, whereas evaluation is the process consisting in determining to what extent these behavioral changes are actually occurring.Before beginning an evaluation, the evaluation purpose should be clearly defined. A clear purpose helps the formulation of evaluation questions, and makes it easier for external evaluators to respond to the demand.Evaluation is imperative for monitoring and getting feedback about the program as to whether it is running effectively or not and what kind of intervention is needed before evaluating the outcomes of the implemented program.
2.4. Different Conceptions of Curriculum
There are numerous uses of the word “curriculum”. Standard dictionaries define curriculum as a course of study and notes that it derives from the Latin word for a chariot race-course. In the past the term “curriculum” referred to a course of studies followed by a pupil in a teaching institution. Today, the term curriculum does not have any single definition. According to Olivia (2001),“Thecurriculum field is by no means clear; as a discipline of study and as a field ofpractice, curriculum lacks clean boundaries” (p. 10). So this leads to emergence of various interpretations from different scholars. According to Ronald Doll (1996), curriculum is the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under the auspices of an academic institution. Ornstein and Hunkins (2004) provides five different definitions for the concept ofcurriculum which can be listed as follows; A curriculum can be defined as a plan foraction or a written document that includes strategies for achieving desired goals orends. A curriculum can be defined broadly- as dealing with experiences of thelearner. Curriculum can be considered as a system for dealing with people and theprocesses or the organization of personnel and procedures for implementing thatsystem. Curriculum can be viewed as a field of study. Finally, curriculum can beconsidered in terms of subject matter or content. Tanner and Tanner (1980) on theother hand; defines curriculum as “The cumulative tradition of organized knowledge,modes of thought, race experience, guided experience, planned learning environment, cognitive/affective content and progress, an instructional plan, instructional ends oroutcomes, and a technological system of production” (p. 54). A different approach todefining curriculum was taken by Robert M. Gagne (1987), who wove togethersubject matter, the statement of ends, sequencing of content, and pre-assessment ofentry skills required of students when they begin the study of content.
There is also a group of educators who regard curriculum as a production system. Toillustrate, Bobbitt (1923) defines curriculum as the series of things which childrenand youth must do and experience by way of developing ability to do the things wellthat make the affairs of adult life. Similarly,