Test-Takers’ Perceptions of the Inclusion of Different English Accent Varieties in the IELTS Listening Tests

Okim Kang, Yongzhi Miao, Kevin Hirschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although scholars have argued for the inclusion of both standard and nonstandard English accents in second language English listening tests to improve the test's construct- and ecological validity, little is known about other stakeholders’ perspectives. The present study explored test-takers’ perspectives of the inclusion of different spoken varieties of English in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) listening module in relation to geographic locations. Some 241 potential and recent IELTS test takers from three geographic locations were sampled (US, South Korea, and China). An exploratory factor analysis of items probing test-taker attitudes toward different accent varieties in the listening test resulted in a three-factor solution (acceptance of standard varieties, acceptance of nonstandard varieties, and overall acceptance of both standard and nonstandard spoken varieties). Overall, regardless of their own geographic background, test takers strongly preferred standard English accents. These findings, grounded in test-takers’ perspectives, have implications for language learning and teaching and further, for test development and administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRELC Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Global Englishes
  • listening assessment
  • test-taker perspectives
  • World Englishes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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