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Sitting at 6.5: Problematizing IELTS and Admissions to Canadian Universities

MacDonald, JJ; (2019) Sitting at 6.5: Problematizing IELTS and Admissions to Canadian Universities. TESL Canada Journal , 36 (1) pp. 160-171. 10.18806/tesl.v36i1.1308. Green open access

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Abstract

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) standardized English language proficiency (ELP) exam is widely accepted proof of ELP at Canadian universities. The majority of Canadian universities set very similar IELTS cut scores for admission; however, these differ from the IELTS-recommended minimum cut scores. The use of the IELTS exam as an admission tool is not unproblematic, with debates around where to set cut scores, the interplay of political and administrative concerns in setting admissions criteria, and the correlation between cut scores and student academic success. As well, the issue of essential academic skills and literacies and their relationship to the exam, curricula, and student academic success figure in the broader discussion around the IELTS exam and its use in Canadian higher education. L’évaluation standardisée des compétences linguistiques en anglais (ELP) du Système international de tests de la langue anglaise (IELTS) est largement reconnue comme preuve de compétence en anglais dans les universités canadiennes. La majorité d’entre elles établissent des notes de passage IELTS très semblables pour l’admission, mais celles-ci diffèrent des notes de passage minimales recommandées par l’IELTS. L’utilisation de l’examen IELTS comme outil d’admission n’est pas sans problèmes en raison des débats dont font l’objet la hauteur des notes de passage, l’interaction des préoccupations politiques et administratives qui entrent en jeu lors de l’établissement des critères d’admission, et la corrélation qui existe entre les notes de passage et la réussite académique des étudiantes et étudiants. La question des compétences et littératies académiques essentielles et de leur relation avec les examens, les programmes d’études et la réussite académique des étudiantes et étudiants entre elle aussi en ligne de compte dans le débat plus large qui porte sur l’examen IELTS et son utilisation dans l’enseignement supérieur au Canada.

Type: Article
Title: Sitting at 6.5: Problematizing IELTS and Admissions to Canadian Universities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.18806/tesl.v36i1.1308
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v36i1.1308
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: higher education, IELTS, admissions, academic literacies, language policy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095127
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