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How reliable are Grade 12 English Home Language exam papers?

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ICELDA
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on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 in Tests
One of the key findings of a recent study by an ICELDA project associate is that the Grade 12 English Home Language exam papers are no indicator of advanced language ability, only of basic and general proficiency.  In an article entitled Issues of validity and generalisability in the Grade 12 English Home Language examination, Colleen du Plessis argues that the lack of specifications in the design of the examination items and construction of the marking memoranda undermine the validity and reliability of the assessment. As a consequence, the inferences made on the basis of the scores obtained by examinees are highly subjective and cannot be generalised to other domains of language use. The study hopes to draw attention to the importance of the format and design of the examination papers in maintaining educational standards.