Examinable English: Reconciling the Cultural–Intercultural in the International Assessment of English

Examinable English: Reconciling the Cultural–Intercultural in the International Assessment of English

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Examinable English: Reconciling the Cultural–Intercultural in the International Assessment of English

Proficiency in English is an increasingly valued capability of many students in a globalising world. The international assessment of English, across diverse societies and cultures, is challenging our assumptions, principles, and practices of assessment.Drawing on the experiences of students for whom English is an additional language, this paper explores the interplay of the cultural–,intercultural dimension with the construct of interest, that is, language ability in academic English. This paper seeks to understand how students’, diverse cultural worlds are acknowledged in the setting and marking processes of assessments, and the extent to which the varieties of English that students bring to the school study of ‘,examinable English’, are valued and accommodated.Using a case study approach, this paper sketches the practices of an assessment agency, the SACE Board of South Australia, in the assessment of a school subject, English as Second Language Studies, which is offered to students in the final year of their upper secondary education in Australia, in Malaysia, and in China.A manifestation of globalisation is playing out in the international systems for the assessment of students’, achievements. This paper points to some of the challenges that assessment agencies working across societies and cultures face in accounting for the cultural–,intercultural dimension in the international assessment of English.

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