A range of tests of academic literacy
As 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
Although copyrighted ©, items marked with the ‘open access’ icon can be downloaded freely.
BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS
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.
|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 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.
|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) [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?
|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 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.
INTRODUCTION: Academic literacy: Why is it important?
|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
Various 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 design
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
Weideman, A. 2012. Validation 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. 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.
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