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Validating the English Language Exam for university entry in Shanghai, China

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dc.contributor.advisor Gu, Peter
dc.contributor.advisor Coxhead, Averil
dc.contributor.author Book, Kin Chung Matthew
dc.date.accessioned 2016-07-18T22:49:20Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-11-03T19:17:43Z
dc.date.available 2016-07-18T22:49:20Z
dc.date.available 2022-11-03T19:17:43Z
dc.date.copyright 2016
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/29932
dc.description.abstract The University Entrance Exam (UEE) plays a vital role in the Chinese education system. Yet despite it being a high-stakes exam for over nine million senior high school students each year, there is little research demonstrating that the UEE is of an appropriate quality. This is partly due to the very nature of the UEE. Little information about it is publicly available and there has been no significant validation research. This study provides the first comprehensive attempt to validate the University Entrance English Exam. The study is focused on the Shanghai English Language Exam, which is one of the principal tests for university entry in Shanghai. There were two phases in the study. The first was a qualitative content analysis, which compared the past 10 years of UEE papers with English Curriculum Standards, and with Bachman and Palmer’s model of language ability, in both instances with the aim of identifying what the UEE is actually testing. The second phase conducted empirical studies, namely mock exams, classroom observations and interviews, and think-aloud tasks. Six test qualities – reliability, construct validity, authenticity, interactiveness, impact, and practicality – were measured in these studies. The mock exam participants were first-year university students, whereas classroom observations, interviews and think-aloud task participants were senior high school students. In the first phase the study found that by English Curriculum Standards, the UEE adequately tested language skills and language knowledge but failed to test affect and attitude, learning strategies, and cultural understanding by those same standards. Measured against Bachman and Palmer’s model of language ability, the UEE focused on grammatical and textual knowledge and strategic competence but not functional and sociolinguistic knowledge. In the second phase the study found variable responses, with impact registering highest and authenticity registering lowest. The UEE has been the subject of much controversy, but this study, while critical of it in a number of aspects, finds that overall its performance is above average and better than many of its critics would concede. Given the controversy, the study has important implications for stakeholders, particularly curriculum developers, examination designers, universities and schools, and teachers and students, allowing them to make far better informed decisions concerning this high-stakes exam than has previously been possible. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.rights Access is restricted to staff and students only until 08/2018. For information please contact the Library. en_NZ
dc.subject University Entrance Exam en_NZ
dc.subject UEE en_NZ
dc.subject Validity en_NZ
dc.subject Chinese education system en_NZ
dc.title Validating the English Language Exam for university entry in Shanghai, China en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcseo 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Applied Linguistics en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ

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