Using the National Benchmark Tests in Engineering diplomas: revisiting generic academic literacy
Proficiency tests are being used moreextensively at institutions of higher learningfor selection, placement, for diagnostic purposes and as a means of early identificationfor first year entering students who might be at risk of under-performance. Given thatat some institutions a high premium is placed on these test results, one of the issues atstake is the extent to which the generic test content relates to curriculum practices inthe various disciplines. This article focuses on three Engineering diplomas and exploresthe extent to which the test specifications of the National Benchmark Test in academicliteracy relate to reading and writing practices in the discipline. The contention is thatthere should be a relationship between the test specifications and academic literacypractices at first year level in order to provide the data necessary to appropriately placeand support students who might be at risk of under-performance.
Keywords: national benchmark test; proficiency test; academic literacy; engineeringdiploma