|This study develops materials evaluation criteria to assess the ENGL131 and ENGL132 coursebooks which form the framework of the two modules, which together make up the one-year EAP course at the University of Limpopo. The evaluation criteria developed from both a literature review and empirical study are then validated by a panel of outside experts and finally applied to the course books.
The materials were designed and developed at the beginning of 2003 when the enrolments for the two modules were increasing rapidly and the workshop groups were becoming unmanageably large. All eight staff members, whether qualified in literature or language studies were suddenly involved in the teaching of mainly academic reading and writing. The initial evaluation of the course books had been somewhat subjective and superficial. After two years it, therefore, became necessary to do a more in-depth and 'whilst-use' evaluation of the coursebooks to ensure that the coursebooks contributed to an enhanced English proficiency.
A survey of literature was done on approaches and issues related to materials design and materials evaluation. Evaluation criteria were extracted that not only pertained to language teaching and learning, but also those that were particularly relevant to tertiary, mainly rural, English Second Language students being taught in large, multilevel classes.
Data were then collected from students and teaching staff by means of a number of instruments for the purpose of triangulation. The data were analysed and another list of evaluation criteria was put together. This second list from the empirical study synthesised with the one from the literature survey. This provisional list was validated by a panel of outside experts. A validated and refined final list of evaluation criteria was compiled and subsequently applied to the ENGL131 and ENGL132 coursebooks. The extent to which the coursebooks met the evaluation criteria was measured by means of a rating scale. Recommendations for change were made based on the ratings given. The measurability, specificity and operationalisation of the criteria were reflected on. Additional teaching guidelines were offered.
The key English Second Language teaching and learning approaches which are included in the criteria to be met by these coursebooks are English for Academic Purposes (specifically academic reading and writing), certain principles of Outcomes-based Education, communicative language teaching, Task-based language teaching, and implicit and explicit grammar instruction. Important issues also covered by the criteria were those central to students with a rural background, namely cultural, intercultural and general interest topics and activities that are familiar to and of interest to students in the 17 to 22 year age group.