Accountability issues in testing academic literacy: the case of the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS)
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Applied linguists should strive to ensure that the tests they design and use are not only fair and socially acceptable, but also have positive effects – this, in light of the fact that tests can sometimes have far-reaching and often detrimental effects on test-takers. What this paper will attempt to do, is highlight how this concern for responsible test design is articulated in an emerging framework for applied linguistics. The paper begins by questioning the role of applied linguists working within this framework before focusing specifically on the concepts of accountability, dual accountability, public accountability and academic accountability with particular reference to their use in language and academic literacy testing. The last part of this paper sees the practical application of the concept of (academic) accountability to the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). With regard to the accountability of the test developers, which is the focus of this article, the intervention programme which follows the test must be considered.
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