Test design

A range of tests of academic literacy

As founder and chairperson of ICELDA, a partnership of four South African universities, I spearheaded the development of a range of tests of academic literacy.

These tests all measure a construct that relies on a definition of academic literacy that is widely accepted and has been thoroughly researched, reconsidered and used in academic literacy designs.

The following tests are the result of the joint efforts of various teams:

  • TALL – Test of Academic Literacy Levels
  • TAG – Toets van Akademiese Geletterdheidsvlakke
  • TAGNaS – Toets van Akademiese Geletterdheid vir Nagraadse Studente  – see ICELDA news item
  • TAL – Test of Academic Literacy for Prospective Students of Nursing
  • TALPS – Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students
  • TEL – Test of Emergent Literacy for 5-6 year olds – see ICELDA news item
  • TEAL – Test of Early Academic Literacy – see ICELDA news item
  • TALA – Test of Advanced Language Ability  – see ICELDA news item
  • Test of academic literacy for disaster management at postgraduate level
  • Test of academic literacy for certified financial planners

Testing professional communication in the workplace

Call_centre

With Language Courses and Tests (LCaT), I have designed, developed and implemented two tests, in English and Afrikaans, of professional communication for call centre employees. Equivalent tests for other South African languages are in the pipeline.

APLAC– Assessment of Professional Language Capacity


Publications

   Items marked with the Adobe icon are either ‘open access’ or accepted manuscripts prior to publication, and can be downloaded freely.

BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS

Assessing Academic Literacy in a Multilingual Society

Assessing Academic Literacy in a Multilingual Society: Transition and Transformation [2021]
Edited by: Albert Weideman, John Read, Theo du Plessis

The focus of this book is on procedures for assessing the academic language and literacy levels and needs of students in South Africa not in order to exclude students from higher education but rather to identify those who would benefit from further development of their ability in order to undertake their degree studies successfully. The volume also aims to bring the innovative solutions designed by South African educators to a wider international audience.

CITATION
Weideman, A., Read, J., & Du Plessis, L.T. (Eds.) 2021. Assessing academic literacy in a multilingual society: Transition and transformation. (New Perspectives on Language and Education; no. 84.) Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
9781315517377.cover

The refinement of the idea of consequential validity within an alternative framework for responsible test design [Book chapter]
Albert Weideman

The problematic secondary school exit-level examinations for home languages in South Africa illustrate a dilemma with high-stakes assessments. In order to resolve it, the refinement of the idea of consequential validity (Messick) is considered.  An alternative conceptualisation of the principles that inform the design of language tests may mitigate the potentially negative social and economic impact of high-stakes language tests.

CITATION
Weideman, A. 2016.The refinement of the idea of consequential validity within an alternative framework for responsible test design. In: Allan, Julie and Artiles, Alfredo J. (Eds.) World yearbook of education 2017:  assessment inequalities. London: Routledge,  Taylor and Francis Group.
Construct Refinement in Tests of Academic Literacy

Construct refinement in tests of academic literacy [Book chapter]
Albert Weideman, Rebecca Patterson, Anna Pot

Using the characteristic feature of academic discourse as a criterion can help refine the current test construct of academic literacy tests that are widely used in South Africa, such as TALL, TAG (the Afrikaans counterpart of TALL), and TALPS, as well as a new test of academic literacy for Sesotho. Post-entry tests of language ability (PELAs) can also be utilised more efficiently, as a recent analysis of diagnostic information from TALPS has shown.

CITATION
Weideman, A., Patterson, R. & Pot, A. 2016. Construct refinement in tests of academic literacy. In: Read,  J. (Editor).   Post-admission language assessment of university students. Cham: Springer, Chapter 9, pp. 179-196. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2_9.
Telling the story of a test: The Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS)


Telling the story of a test: the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS) [Book chapter]
Avasha Rambiritch, Albert Weideman

In telling the story of TALPS, and in highlighting how issues of fairness have been considered seriously in its design and use, we hope to answer a key question that all test designers need to ask: Have we, as test designers, succeeded in designing a socially acceptable, fair and responsible test?

CITATION
Rambiritch A. & Weideman, A. 2016. Telling the story of a test: the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). In: Read,  J. (Editor).   Post-admission language assessment of university students. Cham: Springer, Chapter 10, pp. 197-216. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39192-2_10.
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Academic literacy: Five new tests

Albert Weideman

A workbook of practice tests and answers for prospective university students to prepare them for any test of academic and quantitative literacy (AQL) required by a university.

INTRODUCTION: Academic literacy: Why is it important?

CITATION
Weideman, A. 2018.  Academic literacy: Why is it important? [Introduction]. In:  Academic literacy: Five new tests. Bloemfontein: Geronimo, p. ii-x.

ARTICLES, PAPERS, THESES

nexla-for-web

Various aspects of language tests developed in South Africa have been scrutinized by scholars in books, theses and accredited journals, not only in South Africa, but elsewhere as well. 

For a list of articles, papers and theses, please visit the NExLA Bibliography. NExLA (Network of Expertise in Language Assessment) was established in June 2017. 

My top articles on test design

[Note: To see more  publications on the assessment of academic literacy, please visit the following page on this site: Research on tests of academic literacy.]
 

Weideman, Albert. 2019a. Definition and design: aligning language interventions in education. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 56: 31-46.  DOI: 10.5842/56-0-782.

Weideman, Albert. 2019b. Degrees of adequacy: the disclosure of levels of validity in language assessment. Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 84(1): 1-15. DOI: 10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2451.

Weideman, Albert. 2019c. Validation and the further disclosures of language test design. Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 84(1): 1-10. DOI: 10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2452.

 Weideman, Albert. 2017. Does responsibility encompass ethicality and accountability in language assessment? Language & Communication, 9p.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2016.12.004.

Weideman, A. & Pot, A. 2015. Diagnosing academic language ability: An analysis of the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students. Language Matters 46(1): 22-43. DOI: 10.1080/10228195.2014.986665.

Weideman, A. & Patterson, R. 2013. The typicality of academic discourse and its relevance for constructs of academic literacy. Journal for Language Teaching 47(1): 107-123. DOI: 10.4314/jlt.v47i1.5

Weideman, A. & Patterson, R. 2013. The refinement of a construct for tests of academic literacy. Journal for Language Teaching 47(1): 125-151.  DOI: 10.4314/jlt.v47i1.6

Weideman, A.  2012Validation and validity beyond Messick. Per Linguam 28(2): 1-14. DOI: 10.5785/28-2-526

Weideman, A.  2011. Academic literacy tests: design, development, piloting and refinement. Journal for Language Teaching 45(2): 100-113.

Weideman, A. & Le, P.L. & Du Plessis, C.L. 2011. Test and context: The use of the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) at a tertiary institution in Vietnam. Journal for Language Teaching 45(2): 115-131.

Weideman, A.  2009. Constitutive and regulative conditions for the assessment of academic literacy. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (Special issue: Assessing and developing academic literacy)  27(3): 235-251. DOI: 10.2989/SALALS.2009.27.3.3.937.  See Alan Davies’s commentary on this article.

Weideman, A. & Van der Slik, F.  2009. Examining bias in a test of academic literacy: does the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) treat students from English and African language backgrounds differently? Journal for Language Teaching 44(2): 106-118. DOI: 10.4314/jlt.v44i2.71793.

Weideman, A. 2006.  Assessing academic literacy: A task-based approach. Language Matters 37(1): 81-101. DOI: 10.1080/10228190608566253