The adoption of standardised English Language Proficiency (ELP) tests as a tool for assessing students' English competence for graduation is becoming more and more common in higher education in Taiwan. This paper focuses on university undergraduate students and uses data from a questionnaire survey to investigate their views of the application of standardised ELP tests as the graduation benchmark. The results of this study show that standardised ELP tests are viewed as insufficient to reflect what is learnt and taught in a foreign language classroom and likely to make English instruction become test-driven. The researchers conclude that the adoption of standardised ELP tests as an assessment tool should be determined on the basis of students' English competence and learning situations, and implemented in the context of overall curriculum planning and needs analysis. While finding that standardised ELP tests may place much pressure on students' English learning, the researchers also conclude that motivation rather than pressure is the key to determining whether the new assessment policy of the graduation benchmark requirement can succeed in promoting the quality of foreign language education in the institutions of higher education in Taiwan. The researchers suggest that standardised ELP tests should become an optional assessment tool to encourage more and more students to take them voluntarily for graduation.
Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, Volume 16, Issue 3 November 2009 , pages 319 - 330