Article published in:Maintaining and Setting Standards and Language Variation in the Asian Pacific Region
Edited by Amy B.M. Tsui
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 12:1] 2002
► pp. 1–11
Setting standards and language variation
A dilemma for language education
In recent years, the setting of standards or benchmarks for teachers as well as for learners has been brought into education as one of the key mechanisms for accountability and quality assurance. Language standards setting is one of the top priorities for policy makers. This paper points out that while standards setting in education raises issues that are largely educational and philosophical, language standards setting is often culturally and politically charged. This is particularly so in English standards setting because of the long-standing association between English and colonialism and cultural and economic domination. The domination of English has not diminished in the post-colonial era. The paper outlines a number of complex issues generated by English standard setting, including whether native or non-native varieties of English will be used as the model for determining standards, whether the same standards should be used for first and second language learners, how one determines whether deviations from the standard English model are errors or variations, and the social and political implications for adopting the standard or the local varieties. A brief summary of how each paper in this Special Issue addresses these issues is provided.
Published online: 18 July 2002
Cited by 2 other publications
Kibler, Amanda, Guadalupe Valdés & Aída Walqui
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