QUANTITATIVE VS QUALITATIVE ASSESSMENT AND THEIR ROLE TOWARDS THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH COMPETENCE AND ACADEMIC CONFIDENCE
The paper describes the results of the longitudinal experiment held at the department of the extracurricular education the Further Study Training Centre at the RUDN University, Moscow. The study was aimed at measuring the added value gained throughout the course in English as a foreign language in the context of Academic skills development. The urgency of the study derived from the growing popularity of score-based grading evaluation methods commonly implemented in Russian educational institutions and in most cased overshadowing its alternatives. Verification of the ability of quantitative techniques as an objective tool to measure developed skills and competences and, at the same time, respond to all challenges of modern education presents itself as a priority task. So, the focal point of the current research was the comparative analysis of qualitative and quantitative assessment of the English learners academic outcomes and the role of each type in building academic confidence. The latter was measured by means of the Academic Behavioral Confidence Scale (ABC) initially suggested by Sander and Sanders in 2003 and widely deployed by later methodologists. On total, 142 learners were able to participate in all the experiment phases, roughly equally divided into the control and experimental groups respectively. All of them were mastering the programme of English as a foreign language for at least two academic terms based on the extracurricular training centres at two of top Universities of Moscow, Russia: RUDN University and national research University Higher School of Economics All the subjects were mastering the programme of English for scientific and academic purposes for at least two academic terms. The main research focus was made on the productive skills, i.e speaking and writing, as these kind of activities may be appraised by both quantitative and qualitative methods. The control group was presented by the qualitatively assessed students, so their skills and competences were evaluated based on the customized score banding scale. The students in this group were made familiar with the criteria set and skills assessed. The experimental group comprised the participants whose SLOs (student learning outcomes) were measured based on reviews received as teachers, examiners and peers feedback, cooperative analysis and narrative descriptions, main focus being shifted from the rubrics to notes and observations. Verbal appraisals were granted for any interim or final oral tasks and written assignments performed. Contrary to the expectations, the results of the experiment revealed a slightly higher level of English competence increase demonstrated by the control against experimental group participants; whereas students in the latter group significantly improved the level of their academic confidence compared to the pretest numbers.