What is FAB?
FAB (Formative Assessment for Foreign Language Learning & Teaching in Higher Education) is an international, educational project, which is financed through European Union funds under the Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practice.
The language centres of the four partner institutions that are taking part in the project are: the University of Warsaw (Uniwersytet Warszawski) in Poland, which is also the founder and main organizer of FAB, the University of Pecs (Pecsi Tudomany Egyetem) in Hungary, Turku University of Applied Sciences (Turun Ammattikorkeakoulu) in Finland and the Vytautas Magnus University (Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas) in Kaunas, Lithuania.
In total, about 200 teachers and a few thousand students (as participants in language courses) from the four partner institutions will take part in the project either in a direct or indirect way.
The duration of the project is two years: from 01.10.2015 to 01.10.2017
What are the objectives of FAB?
The main objective of the project is the improvement in the quality of language instruction through providing the language teachers in the four partner institutions with suitable formative assessment tools for evaluating speaking skills. This will be achieved through the promotion and implementation of FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT TOOLS in the teacher’s everyday work, which, in turn, will result in the better quality of their teaching-learning methods, a greater motivation to learn the foreign language on the part of the students, a higher effectiveness of learning process and, eventually, proficiency in the use of foreign languages.
Which activities will be undertaken as part of FAB?
Some of the main activities to be undertaken as part of FAB are:
- the carrying out of a survey in the form of an introductory questionnaire for both the teachers and students about the use (or non-use) of the FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT tools;
- the creation and maintenance of a FAB website and a Facebook account with information about the activities of the project;
- the publishing and disseminating of a Newsletter;
- peer-observation work (at national and international levels);
- workshop meetings for the teachers;
- the completion of concluding questionnaires by both teachers and students;
- the publication of an electronic guidebook with methodological instructions for the teachers and examples of good practice;
- the organization of an international conference on the subject of FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT.
Our interest in FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT is well grounded. Firstly, as yet, no extensive academic research has been carried out in this field and there have been no projects aimed at the promotion of this method in higher education institutions. Secondly, we have decided to focus on speaking skills, because they are a key feature in the process of language communication and, at the same time, they prove difficult to assess.
A greater awarness of the didactic processes that can be achieved by both learners and academic teachers is particularly significant in the area of foreign language instruction in the context of a united Europe, where multilingualism and transculturalism are being promoted.
The implementation of FA tools in everyday teaching practice increases the motivation, commitment and sense of responsibility in the learning process on the part of the students, which decidedly translates into a higher effectiveness of the didactic process. The latter, in turn, will increase the future graduates’ prospects of getting employment in the job market.
As for the teachers, the implementation of the FA tools will allow them to provide a high quality teaching service and to meet the learners’ needs, which are becoming increasingly versatile nowadays.
While working on the project, we will pay a lot of attention to the skill of lifelong learning, because the methods and techniques promoted by our project will prove useful both in the process of formal education and life experience after its completion. Presently, this is a highly valued skill, because ‘achieving longer working lives will also require the ability to acquire and develop new skills throughout a lifetime’ according to the European Commission’s document: Europe 2020.
University of Warsaw (UW, 1816) – a public research-oriented HEI, Poland’s largest & finest university. From its beginning it has played a major role in the intellectual, political and cultural life of Poland, and is recognized worldwide as a leading academic centre in Central Europe.
20 faculties, 31 independent teaching & research units; 49,000 students (incl. 3,000 PhD), 4,000 post-diploma learners; 7,000 staff incl. 3,500 researchers/teachers; 150 study programs in Humanities, Earth, Social, Natural Sciences at first/second/third cycles (Bachelor/Master /Doctoral levels), 5-year Master studies in Law, Psychology; 23 degree programs in English; 22 Joint Master Programs; hundreds courses in foreign languages, vocational training, e-learning, summer education.
UW participates actively in EU: a) LifeLong Learning Programme, incl. Erasmus (Mobility project: 2,350 outg. & incoming mobilities in 2013/14, budget – 3,700,000 EUR); b) Erasmus Mundus (A1 – 2 projects ADVANCES, GEM; A2 – 31 projects with HEIs from Asia, Russia, Middle East, Latin America, coordinating 4 projects SIGMA/ SIGMA Agile – Western Balkans; SALAM/SALAM 2 – Iran, Iraq, Yemen); c) in FP7- the most active Polish HEI (98 projects in natural sciences, informatics, mathematics, economy, sociology, chemistry, technology transfer, psychology, modern languages). UW – a member of international associations & networks, i.a. EUA, UNICA, HUMANE, NOHA, BSRUN.
The quality of education assurance & enhancement system at UW is built with the observance of the autonomy & specific character of the UW units, on the basis of their positive experience in QA, in the conviction that high quality is strengthened by self-evaluation, dialogue, cooperation, support & popularisation of the best & most effective solutions. Researches on the conditions of education & recommendation of the actions influencing the enhancement of QA are conducted regularly by the University Team, Faculty Teams & Unit Teams for Quality of Education Assurance.
Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) is a public enterprise engaged in providing education at the university level, conducting research, and developing applied research and arts activities. It was established in 1922 (re-established in 1989). Vytautas Magnus University, with about 8000 Bachelor and 2000 Master degree students, is one of the most modern academic institutions in Lithuania, playing a leading role in not only Lithuanian but also the entire Baltic and European intellectual and cultural sphere.
Aside from the impressive 26 BA and MA full-time degree programmes in English, VMU offers altogether over 100 degree programmes, as well as integrated studies of law and postgraduate and doctoral programmes. The university offers doctoral studies in 18 diverse fields of Humanities, Social, Physical and Biomedical Sciences.
Special attention is devoted to international activities. VMU is cooperating with 370 universities around the world and is a member of the most important European associations and international organisations of higher education and research, such as the European University Association, the European Association for International Education, the Baltic Sea Region University Network and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. VMU has over 120 bilateral collaborative agreements with universities in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, South and North America.
Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) is one of the leading universities of applied sciences in Finland. It hosts 9,500 students studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The range of degree programs covers several fields of education, providing a good platform for interdisciplinary learning. Approximately 1,500 professionals graduate from TUAS yearly.
Studies at TUAS are working life-oriented, combining theoretical studies with professional skills. At the core of teaching is Innovation Pedagogy, a new approach to learning developed at TUAS. Innovation Pedagogy emphasizes the viewpoints of RDI and working life, and it is applied in all study fields TUAS offers making the graduates independently minded professionals with excellent international and communication skills. TUAS has also implemented training and development processes for several organizations, published numerous books, articles and conference presentations as well as led several national and international projects on innovation pedagogy.
Information about FAB on the website of Turku Univeristy of Applied Sciences [view]
University of Pécs was founded on 1 January 2000 through the merger of Janus Pannonius University, the Medical University of Pécs and the Illyés Gyula Teacher Training College of Szekszárd. However, its roots go back to 1367 when the Anjou king of Hungary, Louis the Great established the first Hungarian university in Pécs. With its ten faculties – Faculty of Adult Education and Human Resources Development, Faculty of Business and Economics, Faculty of Illyés Gyula, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Law, Medical School, Faculty of Music and Visual Arts, Faculty of Sciences and Pollack Mihály Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology – the University of Pécs plays a significant role in Hungarian higher education. The University offers a broad range of training and degree programmes, ensuring high-level knowledge-transfer and research. With its students and nearly 2,000 teaching and research staff the impact of the University of Pécs extends well beyond the borders of Pécs. A modern higher educational training system initiated by the European Union was introduced in Hungary too, known as the Bologna process, which offers students an opportunity to pursue their studies in a dynamically developing, convertible European higher educational system. Due to the credit system, first introduced in Hungary here in Pécs, an increasing number of Hungarian students participate in international study programmes as an integral part of their education, and likewise, an increasing number of international students and researchers come to the University of Pécs to study and conduct research every year.
The Foreign Language Centre, founded in 1989, is an independent unit providing all the faculties and institutes of the university with language services. The Centre, employing about 200 full- and part-time staff (programme co-ordinators, language teachers and examiners, translators and interpreters, IT specialists, editors) offers a wide range of services to those interested in language learning, language exams and language mediation. In addition to the traditional language courses beginning in September and February, it organises special courses for those who would like to prepare themselves efficiently for the different levels of any of the other language exams administered at the Centre (ECL, Goethe, ITK ORIGO). Foreigners are welcome to enrol on the Hungarian language courses. The Foreign Language Centre offers customised language courses to those who wish to take an entrance examination in a foreign language, and to the employees of business firms and other institutions. Reintegration of the unemployed into the labour market is enhanced by highly intensive language courses not only in Pécs and Baranya, but in the whole Southern Transdanubian Region.
International language exams are also administered at the Foreign Language Centre. The standardised ECL Exam developed for the languages of the member states of the European Union based on a set of uniform principles, comprising 4 levels (www.ecl.hu) can be taken several times a year in the official languages of the EU (English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Slovak, Spanish, Serbian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Czech, Croatian and Hebrew) at the Foreign Language Centre. The FLC is the centre (Secretariat) of the international ECL Consortium, which has developed and now operates the ECL system, and is at the same time the official Hungarian representative of the Consortium. Since its establishment, the Foreign Language Centre has been producing high-quality specialised translations and offering interpretation services to companies, institutions and private individuals. The university has a well-equipped, air-conditioned conference room (240 seats) with simultaneous interpretation equipment, where international conferences can be held. A bar and other facilities are also available. Translations are produced with the help of a word processor, tailored to the original format and proofread by native speakers of the target language thus ensuring high quality. Qualified interpreters are provided by the Foreign Language Centre to assist at international conferences, business negotiations and business and study trips abroad. The extended national and international network set up by the Foreign Language Centre supports a wide range of activities. In the field of language teaching and language testing we have worked together for several years with several universities of international reputation. The co-operation with language institutes and the experts of our partner universities involved in the development and operation of the ECL Exam has been especially significant. The staff of the Foreign Language Centre regularly takes part in international events and are members of several national and international professional organisations.
FAB website [view]