Reflection on Conjugation of the Verbs â€˜Avoir and Etreâ€™: What do learners know? What do they not know? And what do teachers need to know?
This article considers tests and examinations as tools for feedback and corrective feedback. Tests results have been observed to be used in the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) Kaduna, Nigeria mainly for promotion or relegation of learners (cadets). This article argues that such uses constitute a superficial and an underutilization of these two functional measurement tools. Data for the study was elicited from written tests on conjugation of two verbs: â€˜avoirâ€™ (to have) and â€˜Ãªtreâ€™ (to be). Sixty-three (63) first year cadets learning French as a foreign language and as a general course for beginners (A1) drawn from three Departments constitute the population for the study. Chomskyâ€™s Minimalist Program and its â€˜select and mergeâ€™ principles were used as a Theoretical Framework. Using Error Analysis, data was analyzed on the basis of: complete non conjugation, correct, incorrect and incomplete conjugation of the two verbs. The results presented in tables, percentages and in pie charts showed higher occurrences of deviant conjugations compared to correct ones. Results showed that tests and examinations are useful not only for promotion and relegation but can most importantly reveal what learners know, what they know not and what instructors need to know to initiate corrective feedback.
Keywords: feedback, â€˜avoirâ€™, â€™Ãªtreâ€™, corrective feedback, conjugation.