The relevance of IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 to successful university writing
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2019 Andrew Pitman
Amidst accelerating globalisation, international students currently occupy a sizeable percentage of university enrolments in English-speaking countries. Of these countries, Australia has the highest ratio of international student tertiary enrolments at 21.5% (OECD, 2019). Due to this ongoing trend, the validity of high-stakes language tests has become more vital than ever before. For language tests to be valid for university entrance, they should elicit language that is relevant and applicable to successful university participation. This relates to the extrapolation of language elicited by tests to university contexts (Chapelle, Enright, & Jamieson, 2008). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relevance of language elicited by IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 (WT2) to successful graduate-level university writing produced for the Master of Applied Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. To date, studies investigating IELTS extrapolation have yielded limited evidence with little relevance to stakeholders. The present study addresses this issue by interviewing stakeholders about language needs and using the interview results to inform functional move-step analyses (Swales, 1990, 2004) of test and assignment writing for comparison. The results suggest that IELTS Academic WT2 is only somewhat relevant to successful university writing and highlight the need for students to develop skills in defining disciplinary concepts and interpreting study results. The results also suggest that IELTS scores should be interpreted with caution, given that claims pertaining to score use currently rest on weak extrapolation evidence. The methodological approach of the study demonstrates the potential to provide stronger extrapolation evidence if applied to broader contexts.
KeywordsIELTS; validation; extrapolation; language functions; academic writing
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References