The accessibility of the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS): Student perceptions

  • Avasha Rambiritch University of Pretoria
Keywords: applied linguistcs, academic literacy, language testing, constitutive, regulative, accessibility, responsibility, social dimension, test-taker rights, intervention programme


This paper focuses on the results of a questionnaire administered to students who wrote the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS) between 2008 and 2010. The purpose of the questionnaire was to elicit information and reactions from test takers about the test. The paper begins by contextualising the problem of student success in higher education, outlining, as well, how a test such as TALPS can contribute positively to student success, before focusing specifically on the voices of the test takers in order to determine how accessible TALPS is to them. This contribution from the test takers is an important one, especially because responsible test developers cannot work in isolation, removed from those affected by the use of test scores. Applied linguists should strive to ensure that the tests they design and use are fair, socially acceptable, and have positive effects. This paper will illustrate that these concerns become important when one works within a framework that challenges test developers to consider questions related to every aspect of the test. In employing a framework that incorporates a concern for the empirical analyses of a test, as well as a concern for the social dimensions of language testing, one is compelled to give a voice to those often ignored, but most affected by the use of the test scores: the test takers. The data gathered will give test developers valuable insight into the feelings and opinions of test-takers.

Author Biography

Avasha Rambiritch, University of Pretoria
Avasha Rambiritch lectures at the Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria where her main research interests are academic writing and language testing. E-mail address: