Fair and diagnostic language testing

Project leader

This project, within the SADiLaR ICELDA node, is aimed at providing fair and diagnostic language tests for academic purposes in the South African context. It includes two PhD studies under my supervision and the redesign of current academic literacy tests used for placement purposes. Apart from successful completion of the aforementioned studies, the project will also contribute to test data being available on a national platform for future use by other researchers.  Tests for use at secondary and higher education levels are available in six of the South African official languages, i.e. also contributing towards the advancing multilingualism. 

Learner corpus of academic writing

Project leader

This project, within the SADiLaR ICELDA node, is aimed at collecting samples of academic writing of undergraduate students from all fields of study in at least two of the official languages of South Africa. The data will be used to inform the refinement of an online writing tool that can be used to the benefit of students across South Africa, e.g. in writing support courses.  As part of this project a complete tag set of typical errors that students make has been developed.


Multilingual Academic Wordlist

Date: 2019-current
Role: Project leader

In many cases students may find it difficult and take longer to understand information that is not written in their home language. The aim of this project within the SADiLaR ICELDA node, is to create and deliver academic wordlists that will serve as a resource to students to assist them to better understand words used within the information they gather to complete their assignments and as a result enhance their academic career. The word lists are based on the Open Educational Resource Term Bank (OERTB), but have been expanded extensively. 

Write it

Date: 2019-current
Role: Project leader

This project is aimed at affording students support with academic writing development in a multimodal fashion. Educational videos (in all official South African languages, as well as sign language), worksheets and exercises on different levels (i.e. scaffolded) are available on seventeen topics associated with academic writing. This product can be used as a so-called stand alone or as part of a blend.


Writing, Information literacy, Reading (WIRED)

Date: 2016-current
Role: Project leader

This project is aimed at the development of a complete academic literacy course offered online for open and distance learning (ODL) students, or in a blended fashion for residential students. The project is currently in a pilot phase. The final implementation date is scheduled for February 2021. To learn more about this exciting project, watch the introductory video or download a poster presentation: WIRED poster.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4c9yKmmdVE

Digital Language Resources: SADiLAR

Node for language testing and writing development

Date: 2016 – current
Role: Node manager

The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), as a multi-partner initiative, is the only humanities programme of its kind in South Africa and is a national research infrastructure. SADiLaR consists of a network of linked nodes consisting of a number of South African universities and agencies such as Unisa, the University of Pretoria, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Inter-institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA) and North-West University’s CTexT® unit.

I am currently project leader for three joint SADiLaR|ICELDA projects:

  1. Fair and diagnostic language testing
  2. A multilingual academic wordlist
  3. A multilingual learner corpus of academic writing