online English proficiency test

Uses of an Online English Proficiency Test

online English proficiency testEnglish proficiency tests are crucial for students who need to prove their language ability in order to be accepted to a school abroad. But can an English assessment tool be of benefit to the school itself? What about a company?

The answer is, yes! An online English proficiency test can be a powerful tool for organizations of all types to improve how they make decisions and the programs they offer. They key is to choose a test that offers rich data and to administer tests in a scientific manner.

Academic settings

Curriculum calibration

Intensive English programs or IEPs often have multiple sections of the same level. For instance, there may be 120 students at intermediate level in any given semester. These students will be broken into six sections of 20, each taught by different instructors. How can the program ensure that students are receiving the same education regardless of the section they are assigned to?

By administering an English proficiency test before and after semester, program administrators can see how students improved during the course of their studies. Administrators can also observe patterns relating to specific instructors. Does one instructor excel at imparting speaking skills while another tends to produce students with excellent grammar?

Making the instructors aware of the outcomes of their courses can help them craft curriculum that focuses on the language skills that need it most. However, it’s important for this to be framed as a constructive exercise for the teachers, not criticism or a threat to their autonomy. (iTEP’s Dan Lesho has written about this extensively)

Placement perfection

Even with finely tuned curriculum, students will not thrive in an English program if they are placed in the wrong level. By administering an English proficiency exam prior to arrival, students can be assigned to the appropriate level from day 1. Even if it’s not possible to test students ahead of time, an online English proficiency test such as iTEP is easy to administer upon arrival. Scores for the grammar, reading and listening sections of our tests are available instantly, and the speaking and writing sections can be graded in less than a day with advance notice.

Proof of progress

The market for qualified international students is very competitive these days. One potential selling point for colleges and universities or private high schools is the ability to demonstrate how much an international student’s English ability improves on average while studying at the institution. Through English assessment testing upon arrival and graduation, the institution can measure how much students learned—even if their major was in fields such as math or science.

 

English assessment in business

English Language AssessmentMonitoring return on investment

Many companies that employ a large number of English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers offer English language courses or instruction to their employees. In order to determine if this program is effective, the company can assess the participants before and after to measure how much they learned over time.

The science of promoting and recruiting

It can be difficult for executives to decide which employees deserve promotions or raises. One quantifiable factor that can be used to differentiate between employees with similar experience and performance is English proficiency. In addition, employees can be rewarded for improvements in their language skills.

In making hiring decisions, an English assessment tool provides a concrete metric for a skill that is vital to so many jobs, even in non-English speaking countries. Strategic use of English testing can streamline the hiring process and save time for hiring managers.

The convenience factor of Online English Proficiency Tests

When people picture an English test, many of them probably imagine pencil and paper. These days, an online English proficiency test like iTEP can be administered on any modern computer. This enables companies to test applicants and employees on-site or even remotely –allowing them to leave their red pens in a drawer. The results are provided quickly in an easy-to-understand format.

The speaking and writing sections of iTEP are particularly convenient when compared to the alternative of interviewing people in person. Since these sections of the test are hand-graded by ESL trained native English speakers who are frequently recalibrated for consistency, it’s actually much more effective as well. The grammar, listening and reading sections are graded instantly, so when an assessment of those skills alone will do, there’s no wait at all for the results.

Want to know more about the International Test Of English Proficiency?

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Five Ways To Prepare For iTEP

While some English proficiency tests offer training programs, at iTEP, we intentionally do not. We feel strongly that the International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) should be an aptitude test, which means it accurately measures the English skills you already have, not language skills you learned specifically for the test.

However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing test-takers can do to prepare for iTEP. The key is to minimize your anxiety and avoid any potential confusion.

International Test of English Proficiency

Here are 5 ways to help make sure your experience taking the test is as low-stress as communicating in English in your daily life. These ideas apply to all of our tests. Whether you’ll be taking iTEP Business at your workplace or iTEP SLATE or iTEP Academic for admissions or placement in school, all of our examsshare a similar intuitive structure, a convenient administration procedure, and a standardized scoring rubric.

Determine which skills will be assessed

One critical aspect of preparation is understanding what skills the exam is testing. iTEP exams assess some or all of the follow skills: speaking, writing, grammar, reading, and listening. It’s important to know which skills will be tested on the exam you are planning to take.

For admissions, institutions use iTEP Academic (college and university) or iTEP SLATE (young learners), which assess all five language skills. In some academic settings for placement and progress monitoring, only grammar, writing, and listening are assessed (these are the sections of iTEP that are scored instantly and automatically).

In some business settings, such as restaurants, hotels, and cruise lines using our iTEP Hospitality test, only speaking and listening are assessed because these are the skills most necessary for jobs in this field.

Learn the question formats of International Test Of English Proficiency

The questions you’ll find on the International Test of English Proficiency are in different formats than you will see on any other test. Becoming familiar with these formats ahead of time can make you more comfortable and relaxed during the test.

While previously it cost $10 to take the iTEP Practice Test, you can now take it online for free! The practice test uses questions that have been retired from the exam, so these are real test questions that just aren’t used anymore. You’ll be able to see exactly what the test looks like and how the different sections work. You will receive a score for the practice test which can help you get a sense of what your score may be on the exam.

Our social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Weibo also post retired test questions every week. Following these accounts is a great way to keep preparing for the test during your downtime playing on your phone.

 

Think like a grader

The Official iTEP Preparation Guide is a hard-copy book that is the only official guide to preparing for iTEP. In addition to examples and descriptions of every type of question you’ll see on the test, the Prep Guide provides information on how the different sections are scored. There are no secret tricks here, but it can helpful to have an awareness of all the different factors graders will take into account.

The speaking and writing sections of the test combine many language skills such as grammar,vocabulary, and pronunciation, so it can be helpful to give some thought to what graders will be looking for ahead of time.

Get comfortable with the clock

During the speaking and writing sections of iTEP, your response will be timed. Seeing a timer ticking the seconds away can make some people nervous if they’re not used to it. Find a friend and use the timer on your phone to practice speaking continuously for a certain period of time. On your own, you can practice writing out a complete thought within limited time.

Identify and focus on weaknesses

Either through taking an iTEP Practice Test or looking at recent homework assignments from an English class, try to get a sense of which skills your struggle with most. Then go deeper—within each language skill, iTEP also assesses sub-skills. For instance, the reading section assesses the test-taker’s performance on recalling details, understanding the main idea, recalling the sequence or order of information, synthesizing the information to draw conclusions, and understanding the vocabulary in the passage.

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You likely will find that you are better at some of these sub skills than others. Even if you don’t have much time to build new language skills, being aware of your weaknesses can help you be more mindful during the test. For instance, if recalling details is hard for you, you may want to take extra care to slow down and absorb the details of the passage instead of rushing through once you see what it’s trying to say.

 

The best way to prepare for iTEP? Use your English skills in your daily life!

While this may be somewhat frustrating advice to some test-takers, our number one recommendation for preparing for iTEP is to learn the English language and practice using your skills. We’ve carefully designed the International Test of English Proficiency to be an English assessment that can’t be gamed or tricked. While familiarity with the test can help your score be accurate by eliminating nervousness, there is no way to artificially increase your score.

If you’re reading this the night before you take your test, don’t stay up late studying. You already know what you know. Take a practice test if you have time, but most importantly, get plenty of rest, eat well before the test, and take deep breaths during the exam.

 

Want to learn more about iTEP’s English Language Assessments?