When testing students’ English proficiency – particularly for application at postgraduate level – assessing their academic literacy skills is just as important as assessing their language skills. There are several factors that complicate this, however. Certain skills are seemingly easier to test (including text structure, paragraph structure, cohesion, and style), as they can be evaluated from the written component. But it could be more difficult to assess skills that are less overtly visible in a written text, such as students’ ability to interpret information through inferencing, distinguishing between essential and non-essential information, fact and opinion, propositions and arguments, and cause and effect, or understanding how different parts of a text relate to each other. These skills are no less important than being able to structure a text or write formally, and at postgraduate level could even be considered more important. This workshop will focus on assessing these “less obvious” academic skills, both in receptive and productive modes. We will look at possible ways of testing these skills, and participants can also try to create a short test during the session.
Lecturer: Zaan Bester
Zaan Bester has worked and lectured in the fields of Academic Writing, English for Specific Purposes, and Academic Literacy Testing for the past 18 years. Her Master’s Degree focused on the understanding of implied meanings in Intercultural Communication, and her PhD investigates bias and social justice in online academic literacy testing. Her other interests include Blended Learning in the classroom and staff development. Having been at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, South Africa, for two decades, she was very excited to embark on a new professional challenge at the University of Pardubice in September, working for the Language Centre and the International Office.
Date: 29th November 2018
Place: Language Centre Study Room (Komenského nám. 2, No. 213)