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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

International English-language university entry tests: are they fit for purpose? Seminar

17:00 - 18:30
2 December 2015
Lecture Theatre C Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

Event details

My talk will begin by exploring some empirical data in which international students discuss their views of the international English language university entry tests. I will go on to consider what I believe to be lacking in the content of such tests, in particular, evidence of an awareness of the sociolinguistic implications of the global spread of English, and of recent findings in relevant areas of applied- and socio-linguistic research. I will argue that while all these areas point to a need for change, research into English as a lingua franca (ELF) has the greatest relevance for international English language entry tests because international universities are, by definition, sites of ELF use. Having briefly discussed the notion of ELF, I will turn to some of the most prominent international tests currently in use, in order to examine the extent to which they are fit for the purpose of assessing potential (non-native English) international students’ suitability for study in an international university environment. I will conclude by considering what types of changes these tests need to embrace in order to better reflect the international nature of university environments.

Speaker information

Prof Jennifer Jenkins,My main research interests are in Global Englishes in general, and English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in particular. Earlier projects included investigations into intelligibility and accommodation in English lingua franca communication (see 2000 monograph), and attitudes and identities towards and among ELF users (see 2007 monograph). Since then my research interest has turned to English language policy in higher education, and the implications of the spread of English and use of ELF for international and home students in both British universities and English medium universities in Europe and East Asia.

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