The design of a postgraduate test of academic literacy: accommodating student and supervisor perceptions

  • Gustav Butler


As a consideration in the design of a test of academic literacy, the face validity of such a test is determined by its perceived suitability and usefulness in addressing the literacy requirements of specific academic contexts. This article focuses on one such a literacy context: that of postgraduate academic literacy at a South African university – namely, the University of Pretoria. In this context, supervisors of postgraduate students will probably expose their students to a postgraduate academic literacy test only if they perceive the testing instrument to be relevant to the needs of their students as well as to the requirements they have for academic literacy in their disciplines. Consequently, one has to take into consideration the academic literacy expectations of both students and supervisors in a process of test development. The article reports on the results of a survey that was conducted at the University of Pretoria that investigated the perceptions and expectations of supervisors and students regarding academic literacy abilities and requirements for postgraduate study. It also highlights specifically the implications of the results of the survey for the design of a postgraduate test of academic literacy.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2009, 27(3): 291–300

Author Biography

Gustav Butler
Unit for Academic Literacy, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa; currently: School of Languages, North West University, PO Box 1174, Vanderbijlpark 1900, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614