A Critical Review of the Oxford Q-Skills Placement Test at a Saudi Arabian University



  • Mohammed Siddique Kadwa Language Specialist, English Language Center, Taibah University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
  • Ayub Sheik Professor, Department of English Education, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa


Cambridge VRIPQ (2013) model, CEFR, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Preparatory year, Q-Skills Placement Test (QSPT)



There is a genuine need to ascertain Saudi Arabian university entrants’ English language abilities upon admission. In order to accurately determine the English language levels of students, this study evaluates the Q-Skills Placement Test (QSPT) designed by Oxford University through the most recent evaluative model in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL); the Cambridge VRIPQ (2013) model. The data used to evaluate the efficacy and predictive power of the QSPT is obtained through both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitatively, the QSPT results are statistically analyzed, whilst from a qualitative approach, interviews, and focus group discussions with teachers and students provide depth and insight. The strengths and weaknesses of the placement test are discussed here from a critical perspective with a view towards the improvement of the test. Although the test proved to be valid, it lacked the acknowledgement of the students’ context and was not able to discriminate accurately for students who scored less than 30% on the test.


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How to Cite

Kadwa, M. S., & Sheik, A. . (2021). A Critical Review of the Oxford Q-Skills Placement Test at a Saudi Arabian University . International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 4(1), 198-209. https://doi.org/10.32996/ijllt.2021.4.1.19