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International Language Assessment and Local Performance: the case of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine

Authors:

R Raheem ,

Director, Postgraduate Institute of English, LK
About R
Professor R Raheem is the Director, Postgraduate Institute of English. Her special research interests include Sociolinguistics, Language teaching, Writing and Stylistics. Professor Raheem could be contacted on email: rrahe@ou.ac.lk.
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V Medawattegedera,

Department of Language Studies, the Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About V
Ms. V Medawattegedera is a Senior Lecturer in English at the Department of Language Studies of the Open University of Sri Lanka. Her research interests include gender and discourse, academic listening and bilingual education. She could be contacted on email: vivimarie@eureka.lk
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G Miththapala

Department of Language Studies, the Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About G
Ms. G Miththapala is a Consultant and lesson writer at the Language Studies Division of the Open University of Sri Lanka and possesses more than 12 years experience of teaching English as a second language at tertiary level. She could be contacted on email: geethm@hotmail.com
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Abstract

Although the world over, English is the premier language in the field of Medicine, in Sri Lanka there is a paucity of studies on English language proficiency in this field. This paper deals with the proficiency of a group of doctors enrolled at the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, and investigates their performance on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a test of English recognized internationally for studies in Medicine. These doctors were drawn from all faculties of Medicine established in Sri Lanka and also included a small group trained in foreign universities. The paper sets out details of performance at a Pre-Test, and their efforts on an actual version of the IELTS after an eight-month training course. Performance is examined in relation to gender as well as university of graduation. Initially the female candidates demonstrated a higher level of proficiency in certain skills. After training however, this initial advantage was obliterated and the male candidates seemed to be more successful than their female counterparts.

University-wise, differing levels of proficiency were demonstrated in the required language skills. As the IELTS also requires general knowledge of world events and issues, this too was checked after the training period. The study indicates that knowledge of world geography and of world /local events exhibited by this group of doctors is inadequate. Although the study admittedly involves a small group of doctors, it raises concerns about proficiency levels posited for the field of Medicine in Sri Lanka.

doi:10.4038/ouslj.v4i0.335

OUSL Journal(2007) Vol.4, (pp.3-16)

Keywords: Language assessment 
DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v4i0.335
How to Cite: Raheem, R., Medawattegedera, V. & Miththapala, G., (2007). International Language Assessment and Local Performance: the case of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine. OUSL Journal. 4, pp.3–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v4i0.335
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Published on 01 Dec 2007.
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