A Critical Evaluation of the Assessment Practice of Academic IELTS Writing

Saturday, October 12, 2013

IELTS and TOEFL test gain popularity all over the world and making significant influence on the mobility and livelihood of test takers like overseas education and immigration. Thus, the acceptability and standard of this test need to keep tight as the result of this test can have some serious effect on certain candidate.

IELTS writing test

The assessment procedures of writing and speaking test are without any doubt more complex one and maintain the standard remains difficult to meet the professional standard.

The IELTS writing test is assessed independently by two examiners that are averaged to produce final band score.

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Multiple examiner has introduced to ensure the acceptance of this highly trusted international test. There are several performance indicator used for scoring at the nine IELTS band by the trained examiner. Task-2 carries more weightage than task 1 as per the word limit it higher in task2.

It is reasonable to assess the whole writing than individual grammatical and lexical features to differentiate between levels of performance.

IELTS band score scale

But, raters usually stick to analytical scales individually like task achievement, grammar, and lexical resources to come up with final score.

While IELTS establish itself as truly an international test, the writing task performance can include international language feathers to measure the competency of candidates.

The content of both tasks in different examination held through the year need to remain consistence although it is a very difficult promise to full-fill in practical situation.

This is because reading experience among candidates varies according to their educational and cultural background. Thus, topics on common knowledge base need to be compromised in all writing exams and extensive research and monitoring need to carried out to ensure this stability.

Construction of logical arguments is an important marking criteria in IELTS writing while persuasive genre defers with varying cultures.

For example, European counterpart use more passive language in demonstrating arguments than African candidates.

IELTS corpus database can be used to further study the characteristics of writing by previous candidates for different socio-cultural background. In this way, the difference in writing need to be generalized in rater scoring and training.

The rhetorical pluralism can be achieved through this practice to accept different styles of academic writing.

In conclusion, the global fairness of IELTS writing test can be achieved through accepting differential approach of argumentation in order to claim it to be a truly international test.

The rich data source of IELTS consortium need to exploit fully to extract the maximum potentials of scoring fairly in relation to test taker profiles. At the same time the test standard should maintain the institutional or contextual needs.