n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Test and context : the use of the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) at a tertiary institution in Việt Nam




Concern for the academic success of undergraduate students with low literacy levels is by no means unique to South Africa. In response to initiatives by the Ministry of Education and Training to standardise and improve the quality of higher education in the country in accordance with international standards, the University of Đà Nẵng in Việt Nam recently tested out a pilot version of the South African designed Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) at its College of Foreign Languages (CFL). This article examines the appropriateness of the TALL for use at an institution such as the CFL in Việt Nam and compares the literacy levels of students studying at the college with those of a similar group of students at the University of Pretoria. The research findings show that the TALL exceeds the set requirements for international language tests in terms of reliability and that it has high construct validity. In addition hereto the test has proven to be highly feasible to administer, particularly with due consideration to time constraints and practicality. Academic literacy levels were found to be lower amongst the cohort of Vietnamese students than amongst a comparable group of South African students. Recommendations for the continued employment of the test in Việt Nam include doing differential item function analyses to explore gender and cultural differences, the minor refinement of less productive task items, and a slightly shorter test version.


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