International Graduate Students’ Perspectives on High-Stakes English Tests and the Language Demands of Higher Education

  • Shakina Rajendram Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  • Elizabeth Larson Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  • Jeanne Sinclair University of the Incarnate Word

Abstract

The internationalization of higher education in Canada has given rise to the increased use of standardized English language proficiency tests as gatekeeping measures in university admission policies. However, many international students who are successful on these tests still struggle with the academic and language demands of their programs. Drawing on a thematic analysis of life story interviews with five international graduate students at a major Canadian university, this study examines students’ perceptions on the skills elicited by the IELTS and TOEFL, the language demands and pragmatic norms of their graduate program in language education, and the university’s language support programs.

Author Biographies

Shakina Rajendram, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Dr. Shakina Rajendram is a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching & Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She completed her PhD in Language and Literacies Education/Comparative, International and Development Education at OISE, and her research focuses on teacher education, translanguaging and plurilingual pedagogies, collaborative learning, and multiliteracies.

Elizabeth Larson, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Elizabeth Jean Larson is a PhD student in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on oral proficiency, intercultural communication, critical literacy, and self-assessment measures.

Jeanne Sinclair, University of the Incarnate Word

Dr. Jeanne Sinclair is a faculty member in Teacher Education at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Her research focuses on assessment validity, primarily in the areas of language and literacy.

Published
2019-12-31
How to Cite
RajendramS., LarsonE., & SinclairJ. (2019). International Graduate Students’ Perspectives on High-Stakes English Tests and the Language Demands of Higher Education. Language and Literacy, 21(4), 68-92. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29428
Section
Articles