“Old” Paradigm Language Proficiency Tests as Predictors of Long-term Academic Achievement

Per Linguam, 13(2), 1-23, 1997.

Author: Raphael Gamaroff

Abstract

Without the differences revealed between strong and weak learners, one would have an unclear idea what one was measuring. It is the differences between groups that is the meeting point of construct and predictive validity. That is the reason why psychometrics (where the emphasis is on norm-referenced tests) plays a vital role in assessment. In this article a battery of English proficiency tests was given to a mixture of L1 and L2 Grade 7 learners and subsequently used to predict long-term academic achievement. It was found that the tests in combination or singly were good predictors of academic achievement and distinguished well between levels of language proficiency. The results also show that learners from former DET (Department of Education and Training) schools do not perform well in schools that use a Joint Matriculation Board syllabus or its equivalent.

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