n South African Journal of Higher Education - Critical questions about the new entrance test for higher education

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The purpose of the article is to ask essentially two questions about the test which will serve as a uniform entrance test, across higher education (HE) institutions, for selection and placement. The questions are: what exactly is the purpose of the test and how will it be used, and why is the test only in English? I will argue that it is not at all clear that the original purpose of testing in HE, namely to open up access, is the purpose of this testing. Statements on the purpose of the test vary from benchmarking the National Senior Certificate (NSC) to placement to selection. If the testing is to be used for selection, and given the fact that the test will only be in English, will that then not mean that this test would be institutionalising exclusion from HE based on language? Could this be seen to be fair given the fact that options with regards to language-in-education continue to disadvantage most learners in the SA context? In addition to this, I will examine the effect that this test will have on the implementation of the language-in-education policy of South Africa, which supports additive bi-or multilingual education. I will argue that this and other sociolinguistic implications of the test should be examined and debated now, that this debate forms part of the validation of the test and that the debate is therefore crucial, and that these aspects cannot be addressed merely by piloting the test.

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