Using PTE Academic to predict achievement and measure proficiency gains in an intensive EAP foundation programme
Walker, Carolyn Rosemary
This study evaluates how well the Pearson Test of English – Academic (PTE-A) predicts students’ performance in a pre-university EAP programme, how much progress students make on the EAP programme in terms of PTE-A scores, and what individual differences influence their performance. PTE-A is shown to be a relatively good predictor of student performance, with overall correlations of rs = .58 between pre-programme PTE-A scores and performance in end-of-programme assessments. This predictive relationship was shown to be relatively constant across a wide range of student variables. Over the ten-week programme, students improved their PTE-A scores by between 2.5 (for speaking) and 5.5 (for reading) points. This is in line with findings from previous studies which have measured gains in terms of IELTS bands. Important variables influencing gain scores were the age at which students had started learning English (late starters improved the most), the amount of extra-curricular reading done during the programme and attitudes towards the PTE-A test.