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Title: Assessing university students : searching for an English language exit test
Authors: Qian, DD 
Keywords: English proficiency test
Hong Kong
Performance test
Speaking assesment
University exit test
Writing test
Issue Date: 2007
Source: RELC journal, 2007, v. 38, no. 1, p. 18-37 How to cite?
Journal: RELC Journal 
Abstract: In order to motivate university students to improve their English proficiency, the Hong Kong government decided to adopt a common exit English language test for all graduating students. In the process of selecting a suitable measure for this purpose, an empirical study with a sample of over 240 students was conducted to compare two English proficiency tests, the English Test of the Graduating Students' Language Proficiency Assessment (GSLPA) and the Academic Version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The comparisons covered both speaking and writing components of the two tests, based on information provided by the two tests as well as performances of the participating candidates on the components under study. Results indicate: (1) that GSLPA writing and speaking scores distinguish candidates' abilities more clearly than the corresponding scores on the IELTS but IELTS overall scores, generated from writing, speaking, reading and listening sub-scores, have a discriminating power similar to that of GSLPA; (2) that the GSLPA and IELTS writing subtests basically measure different skills; and (3) that the constructs of the GSLPA and IELTS speaking subtests, while having their own distinctive features, overlap by about 48%. This paper recommends options for improving the current assessment framework for graduating university students and discusses the possible impact of such a test on English language teaching and learning.
ISSN: 0033-6882
DOI: 10.1177/0033688206076156
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