Validating a test of academic literacy at a South African university of technology

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    English: The advent of a democratic dispensation in South Africa in 1994 officially made it possible for historically disadvantaged groups, Black students in particular, to gain access to higher education at historically White universities. These universities, however, use English for teaching and learning, a second language to the majority of these students. Moreover, such students are products of Bantu Education, a tool used by the apartheid government to ensure that they leave secondary school with poor English skills. Both these factors constitute an obstacle to the students’ capacity to handle the demands of university education in English. South African universities have responded to this challenge by introducing academic language programmes to help the students bridge the language gap between high school and university education. Most of these programmes mainly focus on the teaching of reading, writing and thinking in English, a combination of skills known as academic literacy in the South African higher education context. This study explores the validity of a test of academic literacy used for summative assessment at a university of technology. Evidence suggests that the test possessed an acceptable degree of validity.