The Use of English Language Tests in the Taiwanese Context. – Current
Situation and Issues. Jessica Wu. The Language Training & Testing Center.
The Use of English Language Tests in the Taiwanese Context – Current Situation and Issues Jessica Wu The Language Training & Testing Center
Abstract With an upgrade in economic development and the development of a more international outlook, there has been a strong identification in recent years in Taiwan of a need to acquire competency in English. This interest in English is supported both by government policy and by social trends in relation to the use of English language tests. An English test score now has a strong power in determining whether or not a college student can graduate; a primary English teacher be qualified to teach; or a civil servant can be promoted. Given that Taiwan is a free-market society, stakeholders are given freedom to choose to take one or more out of a list of English language tests which are considered as being ‘acceptable’ by the government and educational community. Among the choice of tests, there are both a locally-developed proficiency test (e.g., GEPT) and internationally-recognized tests (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Main Suite Examinations). As English language testing has thus become a fast-growing business, problems have emerged in relation to the variation in the nature and standards of the different tests. This paper provides an outline of how English language tests are applied in such a context and also a discussion of issues relating to the use of such tests.