The British Councilʼs Aptis test was used with three groups of candidates in South Africa to investigate the potential value of introducing the test in that specific sociocultural context.
The candidates were first-year and fourth-year Bachelor of Education (BEd) teacher trainees, and in-service primary school teachers in Durban, South Africa. The 68 participants in the study took the test on computer. Their views on the experience were then gathered by means of a post-test questionnaire, focus groups and individual interviews.
Their Aptis scores were analysed to determine the profiles of scores for each subgroup, and were correlated with other English assessments that they had taken during their studies.
Overall, the participantsʼ attitudes were very positive, both towards the test and towards the mode of delivery – even candidates with little or no computer familiarity found the experience positive. However, a number commented on problems of lack of time. The comparison with other measures of proficiency indicated that the local tests are, to some extent, in line with Aptis, but there is less correlation than would be ideal. This suggests that some aspects of the local tests may merit further investigation.