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Diversity and fairness: Designing equivalent language tests

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ICELDA
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on Thursday, 27 November 2014 in General

Fairness becomes a problem in assessing language ability when we endorse language diversity, as the South African constitution does, said Albert Weideman, ICELDA’s CEO, in a lecture this week to students of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Speaking in Leeuwarden to students on the recently introduced MA course in multilingualism, he explained not only how unacceptable variation in the assessments of home languages in South Africa are damaging the cause of multilingualism, but also how ICELDA’s project team had devised a range of solutions. A number of dramatic adjustments would need to be made to the final Grade 12 Home Language examinations in order to re-align those assessments with the syllabus, and to achieve fairer results. Students on this MA course, coordinated by Nanna Hilton (assistant professor, Frisian language group; third from right) come from a number of different countries, and so mutually enrich the academic investigations undertaken on this course.