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HETC Project University Development Grants (UDGs) Training Program for Proposal Writers. Lec. 2. English & English Language Testing. by Prof. Ryhana Raheem Open University of Sri Lanka. Overview of Presentation. Complexities of Language Proficiency English for Academic Purposes

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HETC Project

University Development Grants (UDGs)

Training Program for Proposal Writers

Lec. 2. English & English Language Testing


Prof. Ryhana Raheem

Open University of Sri Lanka

overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation
  • Complexities of Language Proficiency
  • English for Academic Purposes
  • Establishing Benchmarks for Academic English
  • UTEL and the Test of English Proficiency
  • Performance of Institutions on the Test of English Proficiency
types of language proficiency cummins 1994
Types of Language Proficiency- Cummins 1994
  • BICS - Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • CALP – Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
basic interpersonal communication skills bics
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS)

Relatively easy to acquire

Takes 2 – 3 years

Mostly oral

Cognitively undemanding

Context embedded –meaning can be guessed at from visual or other clues

cognitive academic language proficiency calp
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)
  • Complex
  • Takes 5 – 7 years to master
  • Cognitively demanding
  • Involves tasks such as comprehension, synthesis, analysis
  • Context reduced- few clues available
  • Requires a good command of language
english for general academic purposes egap r r jordan 1997
  • Academic reading
  • Academic writing
  • Reference skills
  • Participation in seminars and discussions
  • Listening and Note-taking/Note Making

Participating in seminars/tutorials/ discussions/supervision

      • listening and note-taking
      • asking questions, asking for clarification
      • answering questions; explaining
      • agreeing and disagreeing; stating points of view; giving reasons; interrupting
      • speaking with(out) notes: giving a paper/oral presentations, initiating comments, responding; verbalising data

R.R. Jordan (1997)

complexities of sri lankan university system vis a vis english
Complexities of Sri Lankan University System vis-a-vis English
  • National Universities – established at various times, and varying in size and resources
  • Each university caters to a variety of Faculties
  • Wide discrepancy in student standards of English – at entry
  • Standards of English within universities – not uniform as different Faculties demand different levels of proficiency
designing benchmarks for the sri lankan university system
Designing Benchmarks for the Sri Lankan University System
  • Outcome of ELTU Development Project sponsored by the British Council
  • Identified by all Heads of University ELT Units as a priority activity
  • Design concept based on Common European Framework-facilitated by John Slaght of the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Language Studies, University of Reading, UK.
benchmark design team
Benchmark Design Team
  • University of Colombo
    • Dr D Mendis, Ms N Mahesan, Ms S Ilangakoon,

Ms R Kulasingham

  • University of Kelaniya
    • Ms D Wettewa
  • University of Peradeniya
    • Ms C Ellawala
  • University of Sri Jayawardenepura
    • Ms P Nagasunderam, Ms C Galapatti, Mr DLS Ananda
  • Open University of Sri Lanka
    • Prof R Raheem, Ms D Devendra, Ms V Medawattegedera, Ms R De Silva
skills and tasks as per utel 2004
Skills and Tasks as per UTEL (2004)
  • Writing
    • Composition (Short argumentative essay)
    • Describing a graph
  • Reading
    • Comprehension passages
  • Speech
    • Personal Interview
    • Short speech on given topic
  • Listening
    • Comprehension passage
scope of tep project 2009
Scope of TEP Project2009
  • Test samples of students from a variety of disciplines across 12 universities and 2 private sector institutions that had been granted QEF funding by the IRQUE Project, a World Bank funded project for conventional universities and institutions
  • Each sample to consist of 50 students
  • 27 groups
details of test of english proficiency tep 2009
Details of Test of English Proficiency (TEP) -2009
  • Level tested – Benchmark 5 abilities
  • Academic level- Completed 2 years of study
  • All four language skills tested-as decided for UTEL
  • 2 tasks per Skill
  • Test administered to 25 groups across 12 universities and 2 private sector institutions
  • Internationally moderated+ locally moderated
disciplines tested participant institutions
Disciplines Tested & Participant Institutions
  • Medicine: Colombo, SJP, Ruhuna, Jaffna
  • Science: Jaffna, Peradeniya, Kelaniya, Rajarata, Sabaragamuwa
  • Agriculture: Peradeniya, Eastern, Sabaragamuwa
  • Accountancy: ICASL, Kelaniya, SJP
  • Engineering(Civil, Mechanical, Chemical): Moratuwa
  • Earth Sciences: Moratuwa,
  • Management and Commerce: SJP, Kelaniya
  • Social Sciences: South Eastern, Peradeniya
  • Languages: South Eastern
  • Veterinary Science: Peradeniya
  • Food Science: Wayamba
findings of tep
Findings of TEP
  • Variation in performance across the University system
  • Overall - Writing is a weak skill
  • Performance in Reading, Speech and Listening – satisfactory at Benchmark 5 level
  • Benchmark 5 could be accepted as an appropriate standard for undergraduates in second year of study
problems and issues
Problems and Issues
  • Non-professionalism of Some QEF Coordinators
          • Unacceptable interpersonal behaviour
          • Unhelpful/uncooperative
          • Inability to cope with email correspondence
  • Unacceptable standards of student behaviour within the examination hall
  • General knowledge of students – very limited
suggestions for incorporating benchmarks into university elt programmes
Suggestions for incorporating Benchmarks into University ELT programmes
  • Identify Benchmark level of students at entry –Faculty/discipline-wise
  • Define target Benchmark level(s) for different years of study – Faculty/discipline-wise
  • Match target level(s) with current level and identify what can be achieved within academic time provided
  • Design ELT courses with Benchmarks as objectives
  • Use Benchmarks as guide to evaluation