The Post-Graduate Academic English Language Skills and the Language Skills Measured by the Iranian PhD Entrance Exam: A Test Reform and Curriculum Change

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Shiela Kheirzadeh S. Susan Marandi Mansoor Tavakoli


To investigate the congruence between the requisite post-graduate academic language skills and the language skills measured by the General English section of the Iranian National PhD Entrance exam, field-specialist informants, language-specialist informants and post-graduate students were questioned. The informants’ data were collected through interviews and the students’ data were obtained through a language skills’ questionnaire. The informants and students’ data were analyzed through content analysis and frequency analysis, respectively. The informants acknowledged that all four language skills were crucial for academic success. Considering congruity, both groups of informants asserted that there was little congruity between the language skills measured by the exam and those of the academic context. Post-graduate students believed that the reading section of the exam did not match their academic needs; they also believed that a writing section should be added and that a listening section need not be included in the exam. The findings have some implications for a change in the curriculum preceding the exam.

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Kheirzadeh, S., Marandi, S., & Tavakoli, M. (2019). The Post-Graduate Academic English Language Skills and the Language Skills Measured by the Iranian PhD Entrance Exam: A Test Reform and Curriculum Change. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education, 6(1), 63-79. Retrieved from


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