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LTRG/SLLAT talk on The role of post-entry language assessment in English-medium universities (Prof John Read, Auckland)

Date: 19 May 2014 Time: 3.30-5.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR10

The role of post-entry language assessment in English-medium universities

Prof John Read, University of Auckland

Tertiary institutions in both Australia and New Zealand have taken a variety of initiatives to assess the English language ability of incoming students from increasingly diverse linguistic backgrounds, in response to clear evidence that a significant proportion of these students find it difficult to cope with the language demands of their degree courses. Similar issues are faced by universities delivering English-medium education to both international and domestic students in many other countries as well.

This paper first focuses on the motivations for introducing what are known in Australia as post-entry language assessments (PELAs), together with a brief survey of current practices. I will then consider in particular the Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA) at the University of Auckland. This leads to a broader discussion of three significant issues for PELAs. One is the nature of the construct on which such assessments are based: should it be language competence, academic language proficiency, or academic literacy? A related issue is whether a PELA like DELNA can appropriately be considered "diagnostic" in nature, given the current interest in diagnosis in the field of language assessment. The third issue is how to build an argument for the validity of a post-entry assessment, especially the consequential aspects, such as the extent to which students and teaching staff take action to address the needs that have been identified.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Language Testing Research Group (LTRG), Linguistics and English Language, Second Language Learning and Teaching Research Group (SLLAT)


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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