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October 04, 2013

UK | Tests

UK: 69% of children pass new phonics test

uk-phonics-test.jpgThe latest results are out on a controversial phonics test introduced last year in the UK.

More children have passed the new phonics reading test for England's five- and six-year-olds this year.

More than two-thirds (69%) of pupils in state schools reached the expected level - up from 58% last year.

Nearly 180,000 pupils failed to meet the expected standard in the controversial new check, which is carried out at the end of Year 1.

Girls did better than boys - almost three-quarters passed - while about two-thirds of boys did so.

The statistics were published on Thursday by the Department for Education.

This is the second year that pupils have taken the test, which is based on "synthetic phonics", a system that focuses on children being able to identify sounds of letters and groups of letters so that they are then able to decode and read real words.

For the check, the children are asked to sound out 40 words, some of which are made up, such as "voo", "spron" and "terg" - to test their reading skills.

They need correctly to identify 32 out of the 40 phonic sounds to pass.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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August 30, 2013


English test for medical professionals now more accessible

oet-logo.jpgCambridge English Language Assessment reports on changes to an English language proficiency test for trained health professionals from overseas who want to work or study in Australia or New Zealand.

The highly regarded Occupational English Test (OET) for healthcare professionals is now more accessible, with tests to be scheduled ten times a year in 2014 (up from seven in 2013), and a reduction in the cost of the test for many candidates.

From October this year, OET candidates will now pay the same AU$580 test fee, regardless of the location in which they take the test. Candidates previously paid a higher fee if they were outside Australia.

The changes to OET have been made as part of an enhanced focus on quality and accessibility by the newly formed Cambridge Box Hill Language Assessment, a joint venture between the University of Cambridge’s language assessment arm, Cambridge English Language Assessment, and Melbourne’s Box Hill Institute.

Sujata Stead, CEO of Cambridge Box Hill Language Assessment, said improving accessibility of OET was an important element in the plan to build the language test’s international profile.

Full article from Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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August 29, 2013

Tests | Liberia

All 25,000 candidates fail Liberian university entrance exam

All 25,000 candidates failed this year's University of Liberia entrance exam and are accused of "lacking enthusiasm and not having a basic grasp of English."

The University of Liberia. Number of applicants this year: nearly 25,000. Number gaining admission: zero.

The "epic fail" of every single candidate in the admission exam provoked bafflement, consternation and heated debate on Tuesday, with some convinced that flaws in Liberia's education system had been brutally exposed. A government minister likened it to "mass murder".

At first it appeared there would no freshers at west Africa's oldest degree-granting institution when the new academic year gets under way next month. But then an intervention by president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf forced the university to back down and give places to a lucky 1,800.

According to university officials, the applicants lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English. Spokesman Momodu Getaweh told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the university stood by its decision and would not be swayed by emotion. "In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do something."

Read the full article from The Guardian.

Photo: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA

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August 14, 2013

India | Tests

CBSE ties up with Trinity College to train ESL teachers

teach-English-in-IndiaIndia Today reports on a tie up between the Indian board of education for public and private schools and Trinity College, London in a program to integrate English language in the curriculum.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will train teachers for the implementation of the Assessment of Speaking and Listening (ASL) skills in collaboration with Trinity College, London, an official said Tuesday.

ASL has been introduced in all CBSE-affiliated schools for Class 9 and Class 11 in an effort to integrate English language in the curriculum.

"Principals of schools need to identify senior teachers of English from their schools who are eligible to take the online screening test to qualify for examiner trainers in the ASL," said Sadhna Parashar, CBSE director, training research and innovation.

Read the full article at India Today.

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July 04, 2013

Republic of Korea | Tests

S Korea's new English test shows glitch, faces criticism

English-Test-in-KoreaThe Korea Herald reports on a technical glitch that prevented dozens of students from completing a recently launched national test of English language ability.

A number of students who recently took a state-administered English proficiency test complained that there were critical errors in the exam system.

They said that they were unable to complete the Internet-based exam because their answer sheet suddenly disappeared from the computer screen.

Fifty-eight of the 1,116 test takers cited the same error, raising questions about the National English Ability Test that the government developed with a reported investment nearing 30 billion won (S$33.3 million) over the last four years.

It was the first time students had taken the test after the Education Ministry announced it last year as an alternative to the current state-administered college exam.

Developing the NEAT, the ministry originally sought to substitute the English section of College Scholastic Ability Test from 2016.

But critics say the government is implementing the new test without careful planning. Teachers are concerned about lack of programs and teaching materials to prepare students. Parents also worry that it may drive more students to private education.

Read the full story from The Korea Herald.

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June 21, 2013


Cambridge English: Advanced updated for 2015

Cambridge English AdvancedA new updated version of the Cambridge English: Advanced exam will be introduced from January 2015. The exam, which is widely taken for college and university admission and for employment purposes, has been updated as part of Cambridge's regular review processes.

Key features of the updated exam include:

  • Four papers instead of five. Reading and Use of English have been combined into a single paper assessing both language knowledge and reading skills.
  • 45 minutes shorter than the previous examination. Careful exam design means that the updated exam still assess at exactly the same level, and retains the same language and skills coverage as the current exam.
  • New tasks and testing focuses in the Reading and Use of English, Writing and Speaking papers.

You can download the new exam specifications and sample papers here.

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June 19, 2013

Japan | Tests | Qualifications

TOEFL score to be requirement for teaching hopefuls

Teaching-English-in-JapanJapanese newspaper The Mainichi recently reported on a planned new English language test score requirement for university students hoping to become elementary school teachers.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to require college students studying to become elementary school teachers to obtain a specified score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to graduate, an LDP lawmaker has told the Mainichi Shimbun.

An English-language course was introduced as a once-a-week foreign language activity for fifth- and sixth-grade students in the 2011 school year, but the course remains unofficial, and students are not graded on it.

Read the full story from The Mainichi.

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June 12, 2013


Second thoughts about your first instinct

ets-logo.jpgEducational Testing Services (ETS), the company behind the TOEIC, TOEFL, and GRE tests, reports on some counterintuitive results of research on using instinct to answer multiple-choice questions.

We have all been told to go with our first instinct when studying for multiple-choice tests, but recent GRE® research shows that on average test takers increased their scores when using the capability to skip or change answers on multiple-choice questions in the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GRE® revised General Test.

"The GRE revised General Test is the only admissions test that allows MBA and graduate school applicants to mark questions within a section and go back to change answers if they had second thoughts," says David Payne, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Higher Education Division at ETS. "And now we have evidence that this ability to go back to complete or change an answer may help test takers improve their score."

Read the full press release.

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June 03, 2013

Tests | US

Teacher Assessments Extending to Art and Gym (and ESL)

Teaching-English-in-US"The New York Times reports today that students and teachers in the state face new evaluations and assessments in a wide range of subjects, including English as a second language.

New York City students have grown accustomed to the restless routine of state tests in math and reading every year. But soon they will face assessments in subjects typically spared from standardized testing, including art, gym and foreign languages.

A new system for evaluating educators, announced by the state on Saturday, will reshape how teachers are hired and fired in the city. It will also have a profound effect on students, who will take part in a series of new exams designed to help administrators grade teachers in specialized subjects.

Read the full story from the New York Times.

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About Tests

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Tests category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Teacher Development is the previous category.

Third Level is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

Recent Headlines


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Useful Links


  • ALTEThe Association of Language Testers in Europe
  • British CouncilInformation, resources, and links to other sites
  • Cambridge English Language AssessmentInformation on examination and qualifications for teachers and students
  • IALICInternational Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • IALLTInternational Association for Language Learning Technology
  • IATEFL"Linking, developing and supporting" ELT professionals worldwide
  • TESOL IncPublishing, connecting, events and career development for teachers




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