Our tests

ICELDA has four kinds of tests that have been developed for various purposes and levels:

  • Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL and TAG) (Available in more than one language)
  • Language Proficiency Test (LPT) (Available in more than one language)
  • Academic Listening Test (ALT)
  • Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS) (Available in more than one language)

TALL and TAG make up the bulk of the annual sales, with more than 150 000 already administered across the globe. TALPS is another currently popular test, currently institutionalised at several universities as part of an array of support and diagnostic mechanisms. ALT measures the academic listening ability of students when exposed to lecturers, seminars and individual conversations with e.g. a peer or a lecturer. It tests intensive (detail) as well as extensive (broad idea) listening skills. The LPTs are typical proficiency tests measures e.g. grammar, language ability, etc.

ICELDA not only makes these tests available to its partners and to others, but also has the capacity to help scholars in other parts of the world to develop tests appropriate for their environments. We have no doubt that the tests we design will fulfil a critically important function not only in South Africa, but elsewhere as well.

Our tests are primarily used to determine academic literacy levels of first-time entering students. The results are used either to place students those whose academic literacy level is too low on appropriate academic literacy support courses, or, more rarely, as part of an index to determine eligibility to higher education (access to university). In the latter case the results are used for high stakes purposes, and we recommend that the ability to handle academic discourse at university level should not make up more than 15% of such an index. We also use test data for diagnostic purposes to inform us on what should be included in support interventions.

Our tests all measure constructs that rely on a widely accepted definition of language ability proficiency and academic literacy.