Test design

A range of tests of academic literacy

Tests_of_academic_literacy-160pxAs founder and past CEO of ICELDA, a partnership of four South African universities, I spearheaded the development of a range of tests of academic literacy.

These tests all measure a construct that relies on a definition of academic literacy that is widely accepted and has been thoroughly researched, reconsidered and used in academic literacy designs.

The following tests are the result of the joint efforts of the various teams:

  • TALL – Test of Academic Literacy Levels
  • TAG – Toets van Akademiese Geletterdheidsvlakke
  • TALPS – Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students
  • TAL – Test of Academic Literacy for Prospective Students of Nursing
  • TEL – Test of Emergent Literacy for 5-6 year olds – see ICELDA news item
  • TEAL – Test of Early Academic Literacy – see ICELDA news item
  • TALA – Test of Advanced Language Ability  – see ICELDA news item
  • Test of academic literacy for disaster management at postgraduate level
  • Test of academic literacy for certified financial planners

The following tests are currently under development:

  • TAGNaS – Toets van Akademiese Geletterdheid vir Nagraadse Studente  – see ICELDA news item
  • Test of communicative ability for call centre employees

Publications

Open-Access    Although copyrighted ©, items marked with the ‘open access’ icon can be downloaded freely.

BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS

9781315517377.cover

The refinement of the idea of consequential validity within an alternative framework for responsible test design [Book chapter]

Albert Weideman
The problematic secondary school exit-level examinations for home languages in South Africa illustrate a dilemma with high-stakes assessments. In order to resolve it, the refinement of the idea of consequential validity (Messick) is considered.  An alternative conceptualisation of the principles that inform the design of language tests may mitigate the potentially negative social and economic impact of high-stakes language tests.

CITATION
Weideman, A. 2016.The refinement of the idea of consequential validity within an alternative framework for responsible test design. In: Allan, Julie and Artiles, Alfredo J. (Eds.) World yearbook of education 2017:  assessment inequalities. London: Routledge,  Taylor and Francis Group.

Construct Refinement in Tests of Academic LiteracyConstruct refinement in tests of academic literacy [Book chapter]
Albert Weideman, Rebecca Patterson, Anna Pot

Using the characteristic feature of academic discourse as a criterion can help refine the current test construct of academic literacy tests that are widely used in South Africa, such as TALL, TAG (the Afrikaans counterpart of TALL), and TALPS, as well as a new test of academic literacy for Sesotho. Post-entry tests of language ability (PELAs) can also be utilised more efficiently, as a recent analysis of diagnostic information from TALPS has shown.

CITATION
Weideman, A., Patterson, R. & Pot, A. 2016. Construct refinement in tests of academic literacy. In: Read,  J. (Editor).   Post-admission language assessment of university students. Cham: Springer, Chapter 9, pp. 179-196. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2_9.

Telling the story of a test: The Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS)
Telling the story of a test: the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS) [Book chapter]
Avasha Rambiritch, Albert Weideman

In telling the story of TALPS, and in highlighting how issues of fairness have been considered seriously in its design and use, we hope to answer a key question that all test designers need to ask: Have we, as test designers, succeeded in designing a socially acceptable, fair and responsible test?

CITATION
Rambiritch A. & Weideman, A. 2016. Telling the story of a test: the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). In: Read,  J. (Editor).   Post-admission language assessment of university students. Cham: Springer, Chapter 10, pp. 197-216. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2_10.

Academic_literacy_test_your_competenceAcademic literacy: Test your competence
A workbook for learners

Some of South Africa’s most experienced designers of language tests have contributed to make a workbook for learners who need to practise and sharpen their ability to use academic language.

Open-Access  INTRODUCTION: Academic literacy: Why is it important?

CITATION
Weideman, A. 2014.  Academic literacy: Why is it important? Introduction to: Weideman, A. & Van Dyk, T. (editors). Academic literacy: test your competence. Bloemfontein: Geronimo, p. ii-ix.

ARTICLES, PAPERS, THESES


ICELDA-logoVarious aspects of ICELDA’s tests  have been scrutinised by scholars in books, theses and accredited journals, not only in South Africa, but elsewhere as well. For a list of articles, papers and theses, please visit the ICELDA research page

My top ten articles on test designAlbert Weideman

Weideman, A. & Pot, A. 2015. Diagnosing academic language ability: Insights from an analysis of a postgraduate test of academic literacy. Language Matters 46(1): 22-43. DOI: 10.1080/10228195.2014.986665

Weideman, A. & Patterson, R. 2013. The typicality of academic discourse and its relevance for constructs of academic literacy. Journal for Language Teaching 47(1): 107-123. DOI: 10.4314/jlt.v47i1.5

Weideman, A. & Patterson, R. 2013. The refinement of a construct for tests of academic literacy. Journal for Language Teaching 47(1): 125-151.  DOI: 10.4314/jlt.v47i1.6

Open-Access  Weideman, A.  2012Validation and validity beyond Messick. Per Linguam 28(2): 1-14. DOI: 10.5785/28-2-526

Weideman, A.  2011. Academic literacy tests: design, development, piloting and refinement. Journal for Language Teaching 45(2): 100-113.

Weideman, A. & Le, P.L. & Du Plessis, C.L. 2011. Test and context: The use of the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) at a tertiary institution in Vietnam. Journal for Language Teaching 45(2): 115-131.

Weideman, A.  2009. Constitutive and regulative conditions for the assessment of academic literacy. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (Special issue: Assessing and developing academic literacy)  27(3): 235-251. DOI: 10.2989/SALALS.2009.27.3.3.937. Open-Access See Alan Davies’s commentary on this article.

Weideman, A. & Van der Slik, F.  2009. Examining bias in a test of academic literacy: does the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) treat students from English and African language backgrounds differently? Journal for Language Teaching 44(2): 106-118.

Open-Access  Weideman, A. & Van der Slik, F. 2007. Testing academic literacy over time: Is the academic literacy of first year students deteriorating? Ensovoort 11(2): 126-137.

Weideman, A. 2006.  Assessing academic literacy: a task-based approach. Language Matters 37(1): 81-101. DOI: 10.1080/10228190608566253