TENSIONS BETWEEN SETTING-STANDARDS AND THE NEED TO RECRUIT: AN INVESTIGATION INTO STAKEHOLDERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF A MAJOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE-TESTING SYSTEM AS AN ENTRY REQUIREMENT FOR UK HIGHER EDUCATION
University of Sheffield (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Page: 3327 (abstract only)
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:This paper explores stakeholders’ perceptions of the role of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in the admissions processes of UK higher education (HE) institutions. The paper discusses a project funded by the British Council/Cambridge ESOL/IDP:IELTS Australia, published in 2009. It draws on two pieces of empirical study: a large scale questionnaire survey of those responsible for admissions decisions in a range of HE institutions in the pre- and post-1992 sectors; and a smaller scale interview-based qualitative study of a subset of these participants.
The empirical data gathered offered insights into the processes of standards-setting in various contexts, highlighted tensions between standards-setting and a growing economic imperative to recruit, and identified a niche for development opportunities in raising stakeholders’ awareness of the content and process of IELTS to enhance the quality of decision-making in this area.
The study offered a number of recommendations for the designers/producers of IELTS, and for HE institutions, and also highlighted a number of directions for further complementary research.
Keywords: IELTS, English language testing, university admisssions.