Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2017)

Volume 14 Issue 1

ISSN: 1524-6345




Democratizing English Language Assessment through Critical Action Research in the United Arab Emirates



David Patent

Graduate School of Education

University of Exeter, UK

E-mail: davidcpatent@gmail.com



Abstract

     The use of standardized tests as one measure of students’ readiness to study at the tertiary level is a global practice. Making important decisions about a student’s future based solely on the results of a single test, however, is irresponsible and can have harmful effects on teaching and learning. Yet such decisions are made about Emirati students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based exclusively on their performance on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Grounded in a critical language testing (CLT) perspective (Shohamy, 2001b), this critical action research study explores the value of providing Emirati students in a pre-college preparatory English program with an alternative to IELTS. Issues related to democratizing English language assessment in the context of higher education in the UAE and introducing critical themes to Emirati students are discussed.

     Keywords: English language learners, critical language testing,

                  alternative assessment, action research