Publication details [#63224]

Scholtz, Desireé. 2017. The appropriateness of standardised tests in academic literacy for diploma programmes of study. Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa 48 (1) : 27–47.
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Standardised tests in higher education have become widespread as a mechanism to supply additional information for student placements in fit programmes of study. Much has been written about these tests for entry to formative degree programmes. This inquiry contributes to this debate by defining the alignment between the academic literacy test specifications of a standardised test and reading practices for diploma subjects. Theoretical approaches to standardised testing and academic literacies framed the analysis and findings of this inquiry. The multiple-case study approach was employed to examine reading practices of first-year diploma subjects, and semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used for data generation. The findings disclosed two dominant content representations - text-dominant and visual literacy-dominant orientations - that affected the application of different literacy practices. It is concluded that while academic literacy is integral to knowledge acquisition in academia, disciplinary literacies within diploma qualifications have a profound presence and should be accommodated in standardised testing to ensure that what is tested resonates with subject literacies.