Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education
Dr Bill Allen
Dr Maggie McAlinden
English for academic purposes (EAP) pathway programs have boomed in Vietnam following a dramatic increase in English-medium instruction (EMI) university programs. These EAP programs are the pathway, and also the prerequisite, for students who fail to gain direct entry into the EMI programs. However, questions have arisen as to how well such EAP programs prepare students for future EMI study.
This study evaluated an EAP program offered by one Vietnamese public university. It was one of the first EAP programs established in the country and had been adapted from an overseas curriculum package. However, alarming failure rates in the final examination have prompted a need to evaluate the program, which to date has not occurred.
Using Stufflebeam’s (2014) Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) model, this study evaluated how well the program met the needs of its students via different aspects of teaching content, teaching materials, assessments, teaching and learning processes, and outcomes. To achieve both depth and breadth in evaluation, a mixed-methods approach was adopted. Quantitative data were collected at the start and the end of the program from two student questionnaires. Qualitative data were collected from documents related to the program; interviews with key participants (students, teachers, administrators) in the EAP program and the subsequent EMI program (students, lecturers).
The study identified four key areas of students’ needs which the program met with varying levels of success. The program generally assisted students to develop their general English proficiency and academic study skills. However, the program failed to meet their requirements for academic English skills, which in turn compromised two other important needs: to pass all examinations, especially the final examination; and to be ready for the EMI program. The study found that the lack of a comprehensive, contextualised investigation of students’ needs and its use of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a driver of the curriculum contributed to its partial failure to meet students’ learning needs.
This study makes several significant contributions to knowledge. First, it is the first attempt to evaluate an EAP program in Vietnam, drawing on Stufflebeam’s (2014) CIPP model. The results in the study showed that this model was clearly an effective evaluation framework, likely to be applicable to other L2 education programs. Second, by conducting a comprehensive evaluation, the study provides evidence that could contribute to the improvement of the EAP program itself and other similar programs in Vietnam. Third, the study extends local and international understandings of EAP education in Vietnam and provides valuable insights for EAP policy makers and practitioners in Vietnam, and those in similar contexts. The study highlights the importance of systematic and comprehensive program evaluation in ensuring quality language education in Vietnam, especially when adopting curriculum from very different educational contexts.
Access to Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, and 9 of this thesis is not available.
Nguyen, N. N. (2021). An evaluation study of an English for academic purposes program in a Vietnamese university. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/2464
Available for download on Saturday, October 31, 2026