IELTS as a Literacy-Based Proficiency Test

Sugeng Purwanto


This is an exploratory case study aimed at investigating whether or not International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) scores correspond with literacy levels. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 20 first semester students in the English Literature Program in the Faculty of Language and Cultural Studies (Fakultas Bahasa dan Ilmu Budaya) at Universitas Stikubank (UNISBANK) were randomly selected to take the IELTS. Results were matched against predetermined criteria for literacy levels (Hammond, et al. 1992) in order to classify them into the appropriate levels of literacy. Findings indicate that all students (100 percent) were at the performative level of literacy with respect to their overall IELTS scores. Only 25 percent of the students on the speaking subtest and 20 percent of the students on the reading subtest managed to test at the functional level. It is therefore recommended that action research be conducted in Central Java level to upgrade the level of literacy from the performative level up to the informative level. As well, similar research may be conducted with a multi-disciplinary approach employing a correlational study between IELTS band scores with literacy levels.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Sugeng Purwanto

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