The refinement of a test of academic literacy

  • Frans van der Slik
  • Albert Weideman


To ensure fairness, test designers and developers strive to make their instruments for assessing the language abilities of learners as accurate and reliable as possible, and have traditionally used a number of techniques to ensure this. From a post-modern, and especially critical perspective, however, these measures are not enough to ensure fairness. In these approaches, fairness is redefined and reconceptualised. This article demonstrates that it is still possible to use conventional techniques to achieve the goal of, for example, increasing the accessibility of a test. Using several statistical analyses of the results of a test of academic literacy as examples, the article concludes that traditional, quantitative measures enhance and complement, rather than undermine, current concerns.

Author Biographies

Frans van der Slik
Frans van der Slik teaches at the Radboud University of Nijmegen, and is also attached to the Unit for Academic Literacy of the University of Pretoria as research associate.
Albert Weideman
Albert Weideman is director of the Unit for Academic Literacy. His email address is: