Towards providing effective academic literacy intervention

  • Tobie van Dyk


This article focuses on the current situation in South Africa in which a number of factors related to academic literacy deleteriously affect student throughput. This has large financial implications for the country as well as tertiary institutions. Since significant numbers of students with high academic potential are at risk because of their low levels of academic literacy, all first year students at three South African universities write the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL). This test can be used to assign students to appropriate support courses.  An explanation illustrated by empirical data is given of the construct and the use of TALL.   Preliminary conclusions in terms of the impact of the intervention are drawn as first iteration towards an in-depth longitudinal study to test the effectiveness/success of the academic literacy intervention.  Finally suggestions for further research are outlined.

Author Biography

Tobie van Dyk
Tobie van Dyk lectures in the Unit for Afrikaans, Language Centre, Stellenbosch University.  His research interests are language assessment and testing, and academic literacy development.  He is the project manager for the TALL-initiative and serves on the National Benchmark Testing Project for academic literacy.Email: