English Language assesment and evaluation for Medicine and Dentistry syllabuses according to level of development of standards.

[Versión para imprimir][Recomendar a otros][Versión PDF]




  • Esperanza Alfonso Almeda
  • Dora Águila Morejón
  • Rafael Felipe Garcia Rodríguez
  • Sarah León López
  • Carlos M. Leonart Cruz



The following material presents a summary of criteria for evaluation and assessment of the subjects of both syllabuses which are taught in the department of languages of the University of Health Sciences of Sancti Spiritus.  The information existing in the university is not enough to provide the staff with knowledge to carry out the evaluation system properly. The four basic abilities are treated in three levels, elementary, intermediate and advanced. The bibliography consulted in the faculty and personal information of the author do not give enough hints to have a fair evaluation during the teaching learning process and at the end of each semester. It is only a proposal which can be improved by the staff according to their experience, practice and expertise. The material comprises the standards for listening and speaking, reading, and writing. It is designed to give an overview of what the students must know and be able to do as they move towards a full command of English at the end of each syllabus. The levels  through which English learners progress are identified as elementary, intermediate and advanced.



El presente trabajo presenta un resumen sobre los criterios a tener para el proceso de evaluación de las asignaturas de inglés para las dos disciplinas que se enseñan en el departamento de idiomas de la Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Sancti Spíritus. La información existente en  la universidad no es suficiente para facilitar al colectivo conocimiento para llevar a cabo el proceso de evaluación académica de manera satisfactoria. Las cuatro habilidades básicas son  tratadas en tres niveles: básico, intermedio y avanzado. La bibliografía personal y la consultada en la facultad por los autores no da suficientes elementos para hacer una evaluación justa durante el proceso de enseñanza y aprendizaje. Esto es solo una propuesta que puede ser mejorada por el colectivo de acuerdo a su experiencia, práctica y experticia. El material abarca los estándares para la habilidad de escuchar, comprender, leer y escribir. Se ha diseñado para brindar una panorámica de lo que el estudiante debe ser capaz de hacer para moverse  un nivel de idioma superior al concluir cada una de las disciplinas. Los niveles a través de los cuales los alumnos deben moverse son: el elemental, el intermedio y el avanzado.   


Main body


Sometimes called Basic English is an English based controlled language as an international auxiliary language, and as an aid for teaching English as a Second Language. Basic English is, in essence, a simplified subset of regular English.   Basic English is just to master the rules which are considered simpler.  Here are some elements given by the author.

  • Form plurals by adding an "s" at the end of the word. Where special rules are normally necessary, such as using "es" or "ies". 
  • Master the two word endings to change each of the approximate 30 adjectives for this level: "-er" and "-est". 
  • Master the two word endings to change the verb word endings, "-ing" and "-ed". 
  • Form adverbs from qualifiers by adding "-ly". 
  • Talk about amounts with "more" and "most". Use and know "-er" and "-est". 
  • Give some adjectives a negative meaning with "un-" 
  • Form questions with the opposite word order, and with "do and does". 
  • Make compound words from two nouns (for example "milkman"). 
  • Measures, numbers, money, days, months, years, clock time, etc, e.g. Date/Time: 1st of May 1957 at 15:30 



If the student can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered during his work with the book, at school, etc. If the student is able to understand to a certain extent radio or TV programs on current affairs, topics of interest at slow and clear English. If he/she can understand and speak about situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken, vacations, spare time, descriptions at school, in a health facility, at home, etc. If he/she can enter unprepared to a conversation on topics that are familiar, or of personal interest, or pertinent of everyday life, like hobbies, work, studies, travel, family, likes, dislikes. If he/she is able to connect experiences, events dreams, hopes and ambitions. If he/she can give reasons or explanations, opinions, plans, narrate a story or give the plot of a story by giving general ideas, a text, a film or something similar, describe the existence of someone or something. If he/she can answer simple questions with one to two-word responses, respond to simple directions and questions by using physical actions and other means of nonverbal communication (e.g., matching objects, pointing to an answer, drawing pictures), begin to speak with a few words or sentences by using a few Standard English grammatical forms and sounds (e.g., single words or phrases), use common social greetings and simple repetitive phrases independently (e.g., “Thank you,” “You’re welcome”). Ask and answer questions by using phrases or simple sentences. Retell stories by using appropriate gestures, expressions, and illustrative objects. Begin to be understood when speaking, but usage of Standard English grammatical forms and sounds (e.g., plurals, simple past tense, pronouns [he or she]) may be inconsistent. If he/she can orally communicate basic personal needs and desires (e.g., “May I go to the bathroom?”), recognize and produce  the difference of some English phonemes that are like the phonemes students hear and produce in their mother tongue, eg. vase, base, pants, pans. If he/she can recognize and produce English phonemes that are unlike the phonemes students hear and produce in their mother tongue, eg cold, cole, or recognize them in context like tail, tale. Produce most English phonemes while beginning to read aloud. If he/she can produce simple vocabulary (e.g., single words or very short phrases) to communicate basic needs in social and academic settings (e.g., locations, greetings, classroom objects), demonstrate comprehension of simple vocabulary with an appropriate action, retell stories of minimum complexity by using simple words, phrases, and sentences. If he/she can recognize simple affixes (e.g., educate, education), prefixes (e.g., dislike, preheat), synonyms (e.g., big, large), and antonyms (e.g., hot, cold). If he/she can begin to use knowledge of simple affixes, prefixes, synonyms, and antonyms to interpret the meaning of unknown words. Recognize the difference between the use of the first- and third-person points of view in phrases or simple sentences. If he/she can respond orally to stories read aloud and use physical actions and other means of nonverbal communication (e.g., matching objects, pointing to an answer, drawing pictures).  If he/she can respond orally to stories read aloud, giving one- to two-word responses in answer to factual comprehension questions (who, what, when, where, and how). The mastery of simple present, past and future is needed. The students must master too simple and continuous tenses.



If he/she can understand texts that consist   mainly of high frequency of everyday or any other thing related  language. If he/she understands the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters or any other type of informations given by descriptions, arguments, assessments or any other invariant. If he/she can understand and follow simple one-step directions for classroom-related activities, identify the basic sequence of events in stories read aloud, using important words or visual representations, such as pictures and story frames. Respond orally to stories read aloud, using phrases or simple sentences to answer factual comprehension questions. Read and comprehend about themselves, the family, a ward, about how medicine develops, a city, etc. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 200 words according to the regulations by GNAMEI.



If he/she can write simple connected  texts on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. If he/she can write concerning themselves, their families, matters of interest like a hospital, a house, experiences, impressions or simply descriptions of typical days, places, future plans and intentions, personal qualities, compare places, etc.  Write simple sentences by using key words commonly used in the classroom. Write phrases and simple sentences that follow English syntactical order. Use prepositional phrases, common connectors, or any other part of the speech which may make the writing richer and more beautiful. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 80 words.




If he/she can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signaled explicitly. They can understand TV programs, radio, films or any other recording without too much effort. If he/she understands complex specialized information or medical English or information related to their field of action. Ask and answer instructional questions by using simple sentences. Listen attentively to stories and information and identify important details and concepts by using both verbal and nonverbal responses. Ask and answer instructional questions with some supporting elements (e.g., “Which part of the body is involved in this process ?”).

Participate in social and professional conversations with peers and other doctors or any health professional on familiar or medical topics by asking and answering questions and soliciting information. Make oneself understood when speaking by using consistent Standard English grammatical forms and sounds; however, some rules are not followed (e.g., third-person singular, male and female pronouns). If he/she  can express themselves fluently and spontaneously with much effort searching for expressions. If he/she can use the language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes formulating ideas and opinions with precision and understandable by other speakers. Produce English phonemes while reading aloud. Use more complex vocabulary and sentences to communicate needs and express ideas in a wider variety of social and academic settings. Recognize simple antonyms and synonyms (e.g., present, gift, good, bad, blend, mix) orally. Expand recognition and begin to use them appropriately. Apply knowledge of vocabulary to discussions related to reading tasks. Read simple vocabulary, phrases, and sentences independently. Read narrative and expository texts aloud with the correct pacing, intonation, and expression. Use expanded vocabulary and descriptive words in oral and written responses to written texts. Recognize and understand simple idioms, analogies, and figures of speech in oral language. Recognize that some words have multiple meanings and apply this knowledge to written text. Recognize the function of connectors in written text (e.g., first (ly), second (ly), then, after that, finally). 



Understand and follow simple written directions for classroom-related activities and professional settings.  Read text and orally identify the main ideas and draw inferences about the text by using detailed sentences.  Read and identify basic text features, such as the title, table of contents, and chapter headings. Respond to comprehension questions about text by using detailed sentences (e.g., “The doctor ordered some lab studies to check the patients´ progress”). Identify, using key words or phrases, the basic sequence of events in medical information read. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 300 words according to the regulations by GNAMEI.



If he/she can express themselves in clear and well structured English, expressing points of view, detailed texts on a wide range of aspects related to their field of action and interests in ESP. Write a report, giving reasons, criticizing or supporting ideas in medical English. Follow a model given by the teacher to independently write a short paragraph of at least 200 words. Write legible, simple sentences that respond to topics in medical language (e.g., surgery, pediatrics, community medicine). Create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea and consistently use Standard English grammatical forms even though some rules may not be followed.  Recognize sound/symbol relationships and basic word-formation rules in written text (e.g., some basic syllabication rules when not writing in a PC). Apply knowledge of English phonemes in oral and silent reading to derive meaning from medical literature and texts in content areas. Write simple and complex sentences about an event, an episode or something related to their field of action.  Produce independent writing that is understood when read but may include inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 120 words according to the regulations by GNAMEI.




He/she can take part in a conversation or discussion with no effort and have a good familiarity with idiomatic expressions, colloquialisms and their jargon. If he/she can express themselves fluently and convey finer shades of meaning precisely. If he/she can present a clear, smoothly flowing detailed description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure which help the recipient of listeners of the information to notice and remember significant points. Apply knowledge of academic and social vocabulary while reading independently. Be able to use a standard or specific monolingual dictionary to find the meanings of unfamiliar or unknown words. Interpret the meaning of unknown words by using knowledge gained from previously read texts. Understand idioms, analogies, and metaphors in conversation. 



If he/she can understand all complex texts such as manuals, abstracts, reprints or any specialized information. Read and orally respond to familiar medical information or stories or episodes and other texts by answering factual comprehension questions about cause-and-effect relationships. Explain how understanding of text is affected by patterns of organization, repetition of main ideas, syntax, and word choice. Understand idioms, analogies, and metaphors in written texts.  If he/she can demonstrate no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language whether live or broadcast even when delivered at fast native speed. Demonstrate understanding of most idiomatic expressions (e.g., “Give me a hand”) by responding to such expressions and using them appropriately. Negotiate and initiate social conversations by questioning, restating, soliciting information, and paraphrasing the communication of others. Writing summaries. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 600 words according to the regulations by GNAMEI.



If the student can write clear smoothly flowing text in an appropriate  style, writing complex letters, reports, referrals  with effective, logical structure which help the receiver or recipient of the information  notice and remember significant points, writing summaries and reviews of professional works. Develop a clear thesis and support it by using analogies, quotations, and facts appropriately. Write a multi-paragraph essay or medical information with consistent use of standard grammatical forms. Write about a scientific issue and discuss it fluently to the rest of the peers and teacher. Use appropriate punctuation marks like capital letter, commas, semi colons, colons, and marks at the end of a question. The amount of words required for this level oscillates around 200 words according to the regulations by GNAMEI.



Canale, M., and M. Swain. 1980. “Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language Teaching and Testing,” Applied Linguistics, Vol. 1, 1–47. 

Colectivo de autores.  (2009) Vision series I, II, III. Editorial Salud Pública, La Habana, Cuba.

Colectivo de autors. (2009) English in Medicine I and II, Editorial Salud Pública, La Habana, Cuba.

Ferris, D. 1994. “Rhetorical Strategies in Student Persuasive Writing: Differences between Native and Non-native English Speakers,” Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 26, 45–65. 

Gass, S. C., and L. Selinker. 1994. Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

Hughley, J. B., and others. 1983. Teaching ESL Composition: Principles and Techniques. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House. 

Ingram, D. 1989. First Language Acquisition: Method, Description, and Explanation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 

Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading. 1988. Edited by P. Carrell, J. Devine, and D. Eskey. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 

Long, M. H. 1983. “Does Second Language Instruction Make a Difference? A Review of Re-search,” Teaching English as a Second Language Quarterly, Vol. 14, 378–90. 

Mangeldorf, K. 1989. “Parallels Between Speaking and Writing in Second Language Acquisition,” in Richness in Writing: Empowering Language Minority Students. Edited by D. M. Johnson and D. H. Roen. New York: Longman, pp. 134–45. 

Odlin, T. 1989. Language Transfer: Cross-Linguistic Influence in Language Learning. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 

Renkema, J. 1993. Discourse Studies: An Introductory Textbook. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co. 

Richard-Amato, P. A. 1988. Making It Happen: Interaction in the Second Language Classroom: From Theory to Practice. New York: Longman. 

Scarcella, R. C., and R. L. Oxford. 1992. The Tapestry of Language Learning: The Individual in the Communicative Classroom. Boston: Heinle and Heinle Publishers. 

Selinker, L., and D. Douglas. 1989. “Research Methodology in Contextually-based Second Language Research,” Second Language Research, Vol. 5, 1–34. 


Desarrollado por Drupal, un Sistema de Gestión de Contenidos (SMS) de recursos abiertos (open source).