n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Using the National Benchmark Tests in Engineering diplomas : revisiting generic academic literacy




Proficiency tests are being used more extensively at institutions of higher learning for selection, placement, for diagnostic purposes and as a means of early identification for first year entering students who might be at risk of under-performance. Given that at some institutions a high premium is placed on these test results, one of the issues at stake is the extent to which the generic test content relates to curriculum practices in the various disciplines. This article focuses on three Engineering diplomas and explores the extent to which the test specifications of the National Benchmark Test in academic literacy relate to reading and writing practices in the discipline. The contention is that there should be a relationship between the test specifications and academic literacy practices at first year level in order to provide the data necessary to appropriately place and support students who might be at risk of under-performance.


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