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Title: Interpreting and using proficiency test scores
Author: Banerjee, Jayanti Veronique.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2442 6194
Awarding Body: University of Lancaster
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis focuses on the use of English language proficiency test scores in the university admissions process for non-native speakers of English. This use of English language proficiency test scores asswnes that a non-native speaker of English whose language proficiency is below a certain level will not be able to cope with the linguistic demands of studying in English and is, therefore, less likely to be successful in obtaining his/her degree. This assumption raises the question of the extent to which students' initial language proficiency detennines their eventual perfonnance on the degree course for which they register. The thesis surveys the advice provided to university admissions personnel on how to use language proficiency test scores in making admissions decisions and describes previous attempts to establish the link between language proficiency and academic success including the preliminary study for this thesis - often called predictive validity studies. All these studies have been disappointing hut the preliminary study suggests a potentially interesting variable, that of 'cost'. This is defined as the additional time and effort students need to expend in order to cope with their studies, over and above the time and effort a native-speaker might have to expend to achieve the same result.Drawing on developments in validity theory, the thesis also suggests that predictive validity studies are out of date. It argues that what is needed is a closer examination of how admissions decisions are made in order to understand better how test results are being interpreted and used as well as of the relationship between language proficiency and the incidence of 'cost' in a student's study experience. The main study adopts an ethnographic approach, first interviewing the relevant admissions personnel for two postgraduate degree courses at Lancaster University. It then follows up the study experience of 25 volunteer non-native speaker students registered on the selected degrees, showing in particular the relationship between the admissions personnel's initial judgement of their language proficiency and the 'cost' these students experienced during their degrees.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available