Skip to main content

Tried and tested: Academic literacy tests as predictors of academic success

Buy Article:

$10.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Abstract

It is claimed that various factors related to academic literacy deleteriously affect student throughput. The international trend is to determine the academic literacy levels of prospective or already admitted students. This article reports on such an initiative, where the academic literacy of first-year students at a number of South African universities is annually tested for the assignment of students to appropriate academic language support courses. A construct of academic literacy is introduced as basis for test development. Next, validity considerations are introduced and discussed in relation to the construction of TALL and TAG, respectively English and Afrikaans placement tests for academic literacy. The problem addressed, is whether the Afrikaans test predicts academic success and can be used to support decisions on access. Tests such as TAG (and TALL) are often used for purposes they are not intended for. Empirical data from three case studies at three South African universities is drawn upon to determine its predictive validity. The findings indicate that academic literacy on its own predicts academic success to a very limited extent. Placement tests such as TAG should, consequently, not be used to inform decisions on access, but only for its intended purpose, namely placement.

Keywords: academic literacy; access; placement; validity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/TVT2015.2.VAND

Affiliations: Tobie Van Dyk is professor at the School of Languages, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa and Head of the Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice at the Faculty of Arts of the same university.

Publication date: 2015-06-30

More about this publication?
  • Het Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing verschijnt drie keer per jaar en biedt een platform aan taalbeheersers om de resultaten van wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar taal- en tekstgebruik te publiceren. Het onderzoek waarover gerapporteerd wordt, richt zich zowel op schriftelijke als mondelinge taalvaardigheid, op begrijpelijk en/of effectief taalgebruik, op vormen en functies van verschillende tekstgenres en op taalkundige kenmerken van communicatie. Het tijdschrift biedt ruimte aan onderzoek vanuit verschillende disciplines zoals taalwetenschap, tekstwetenschap, conversatie-analyse, communicatiewetenschap, psychologie, onderwijskunde, argumentatietheorie en retorica.

    The Dutch-language journal Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing is a platform for academics to publish research results about the use of language and texts. The research focuses on written and oral language skills, on understandable and/or effective language usage, on characteristics of different text genres and on characteristics of texts in communication.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Publisher's Website
  • Back Issues
  • Peer Review, Ethics and Malpractice
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more