Digital language testing for Dutch and English (2009-2010)

At different times during the academic year students come to let their language level be tested to be able to attend university (both at bachelor, master, doctor and (guest)lecturer level). Before 2009 only intuitively constructed paper tests existed which had not been subjected to statistical analyses.

Within this project, the goal was therefore to design two digital tests that were supported by an extensive pretest phase in which validity and reliability were tested. Within the scope of this project, the importance of the possibilities of Curios ( the digital test platform of the UGent) were also researched, so the it could be used efficiently for language tests. The possibilities of the digital platform for different question types (e.g. multiple choice questions, fill-in-the-gaps questions, dictations, ordering questions) were checked to be able to vary the test sufficiently for different types of learners. Apart from that, the aim was to attain variation in the offered material both in content and in form (e.g. short and long text, short and long listening fragments).

The end product for the Dutch test is the Interuniversity Language Test of Dutch for Speakers of Other Languages (ITNA – Interuniversitaire Taaltest Nederlands voor Anderstaligen). To this end, a cooperation was set up with the different Flemish University language centres (Linguapolis, Antwerp; ILT, Leuven; HUB Brussels). In this way, one placement test of Dutch was developed that is the same for all universities, which considerably increases the scope and strengthe of the developed test. It is an objective measuring tool that shows in a reliable way whether the testee meets the language criteria of higher education.

In the first place, the test of English (ULTE: University-Level Test of English) serves as a admission test for the university: students who get a B2-level or higher according to the Common European Framework for Languages can enrol. Secondly this test also functions as a placement test, so students immediately receive feedback about which language level they have.

With the support of cel Diversity and Gender, project Diversity in the Faculty