Questions that English as a second language (ESL) exam takers struggle with can be excluded from the marking of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam.
Stephen Glenfield, FASEA chief executive, said exam registrants were asked if English was a second language as part of the exam registration process as this allowed them to monitor if certain questions affected certain groups.
“As part of the marking process ACER [Australian Council for Education Research] does, they benchmark each question and look at the response based on who made the response to see whether there was any disadvantage to a particular group,” Glenfield said.
“One of the particular things they look at is whether the ESL group had trouble answering a particular question, i.e. did it favour against them because of the way it was written?
“To a native English speaker it might have come across fine, but for an ESL it might have been difficult to understand.
“If that question proved to be very problematic for that group, it is removed from the marking so they’re not disadvantaged, that’s the reason why we do it.”
When asked whether an exam question had to be removed for that reason, Glenfield said he did not believe there had been a question that had to be removed.
“ACER a very experienced at writing exam questions and there’s a lot of effort put in to make sure the grammar is in way that will be understood by all,” Glenfield said.