Edited by Slobodanka Dimova and Joyce Kling
[Journal of English-Medium Instruction 1:2] 2022
► pp. 255–274
In Flemish higher education, lecturers teaching in a language other than their mother tongue need official proof of their C1 level in that language. As a result, Flemish universities developed the ITACE (Interuniversity Test of Academic English), a domain-specific and purpose-built language test linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and validated by an independent audit commission. Yet, the introduction of a mandatory language test was heavily contested in Flemish academia and in the media. In addition, the ITACE was perceived as a political tool of the government to enforce its language policy. Almost ten years after its introduction, the ITACE now appears to be widely accepted. The introduction of the test revealed that initial scepticism can be overcome through development, proper contextualization, and use of a high-quality, target-specific instrument. The article discusses the context in which the test was created, the construction of the test (addressing issues of reliability and validity), and the implications of the test, including its pedagogical and societal relevance.