Arab World English Journal
Volume 2, Number 1  2011                                                                                                           pp.47-71

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Predicting Foundation Year Students’ Performance on International Proficiency Tests

Ahmed Shaker Al Kilabi, PhD
Department of English Language
and Literature,
College of Applied Sciences, Nizwa

Laila Zahir Al-Salmi
University of Texas, El Paso.U.S.A

The present study has two aims. First, it attempts to validate secondary school scores by using data collected from 347 foundation year students’ performance on six different tests in addition to their secondary school scores. The hypothesis underlying this validation was that the secondary school scores  were inflated and they did not reflect the real level of students’ proficiency. The Secondary School Scores were found to have moderately high correlation co-efficients with all other six sets of scores. These scores, if proved valid, could be used as indicators of students’ level of performance on any international general proficiency test such as the IELTS. This study also endeavors to predict students’ level of performance by using any one of the seven sets of scores for the sample of the study. A pilot study was conducted involving 35 students who took the IELTS in May 2006. The results of the pilot study showed that the only good predictors of the level of performance on IELTS were a computer-based proficiency test and a May 2006 Achievement test.
Key Words: assessment, Achievement test, proficiency test, Foundation Programs, IELTS