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On standardized tests in neoliberal English.

2013/03/29

Is a score of 8 out of 9 for basic proficiency in “written English.” adequate For a Professor of English?

The Procrastination Salon

As I have mentioned in the form of Facebook bitching and Twitter complaint, D and I are required to submit IELTS scores as part of our applications for permanent residence in Canada. It is not enough that we claim to be native speakers and have been hired by Canadian institutions to teach sophisticated uses of the English language to college and university students; we must also have some standardized test company certify our basic proficiency in the national tongue (one of them). In addition to being, pragmatically, a gigantic pain in the ass, this requirement is offensive to the nation’s purported principle of “multiculturalism.” Having now taken the IELTS test, I can say with confidence that it is a very poor way of testing a person’s ability to participate in Canadian civic life, but it is a very good way of indicating to immigrants that they are being (potentially) admitted…

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