Because English, as the predominant international language, is now used in many different forms and contexts globally, attitudes are changing towards variety in English, the construct of English proficiency tests, and methods of teaching English. This paper addresses the fact that many students of English are exposed to non-standard indigenized or lingua franca Englishes, thus potentially marginalizing them in their efforts to succeed on international tests of English based on standard American or British conventions. It examines non-standard grammatical features of world Englishes, summarizes the results of studies on bias in English proficiency tests, and details suggestions for best teaching practices enlightened by an understanding of this new English reality. Suggestions for modifications to ESL/EFL teaching methods are informed by empirical studies that demonstrate the success of using the non-standard dialect as a comparative device in English language classrooms whose goal is to teach a standard target dialect.


Stephen J. Stoynoff

First Committee Member

Harry Solo

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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