iTEP Inks $8.9 Million Partnership to Revolutionize English Assessment in China

iTEP International has partnered with Zhejiang Liang Yi Cultural Development Company Ltd (ZL) in a major initiative to improve the availability and use of reliable English assessment in the country. Valued at $8.9 million, the agreement will bring the iTEP Academic and iTEP SLATE exams into the Chinese mainstream through ZL’s relationships with Zhejiang Tsinghua Yangtze River Delta Research Institute, and English Weekly Press, a major English education media company.

Kenny Li, Perry Akins, Shi Chuanbao, & Sahrif Ossayran

ZL is a main supplier of paperless teaching systems, touring online systems and homestay management to elementary and secondary schools in China, and will incorporate iTEP exams into its materials. “There is an increased focus in China on forming proficient English speakers, rather than merely paying lip service to English education and going through the motions of classroom instruction,” says iTEP Chairman Perry Akins. “We are thrilled that this partnership will integrate coursework and assessment to help educators achieve measurable results.”

English Weekly Press will leverage its targeted circulation of 16 million through 40,000 schools to promote iTEP to teachers and students. “Our publication brings trends and innovations in the education field into the spotlight,” says Mr. Shi Chuanbao, Vice of Editor of the awarding winning English Weekly Press. Secretary of General of China Foreign Language and Education Research Center. “We are thrilled to bring widespread awareness to a more efficient, cost-effective, and technology enabled English test such as iTEP.”

Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang, is co-founded by Zhejiang Provincial Government and Tsinghua University. The Institute is actively involved in technology innovation services and training, and spurring growth in the tech sector in order to fulfill Tsinghua University’s social service commitment to shaping the future of economic development. “We are thrilled to engage in revolutionizing the English assessment space in China through our partnership iTEP,” says Dr., Wu, Yunda Vice secretary of Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University Zhejiang.

The partnership is the most significant to date for iTEP International which already has more than 100 test centers established in China and more than 700 around the world. “In such a large and populous country, it takes truly influential partners to make an impact, and we are honored to be part of such an elite group,” says iTEP President Jemal Idris. “The People’s Republic of China offers tremendous growth opportunities for the iTEP exams and we are looking forward to a successful and long term relationship with ZL.”

University Puts Paper-Based iTEP to Use in China

Since its inception in 2008, iTEP has been an Internet-based test. However, because some institutions prefer paper-based tests, Boston Educational Services began offering a paper version of the iTEP Core exams.

Fort Hays State University has been putting these analog exams to good use in China. The Kansas-based school runs a program in China where students can obtain a degree from FHSU while doing most of their studies in their home country. Because this program necessitates testing large numbers of students at the same time, FHSU finds the paper-based  iTEP Academic-Core to be the best option for their placement needs.

The paper-based version of our iTEP Academic-Core exam evaluates the same skills (reading, listening, grammar) as the Institutional TOEFL exam (TOEFL ITP), but does so at a fraction of the cost, with less administration time, and quicker delivery of results.

A Visit to iTEP Test Centers in the Phillipines, Vietnam, China and Japan

iTEP Executive Director Michael Salenko spent most of last month in Asia meeting with distributors of our English proficiency tests and other partners. iTEP relies on schools, agencies, and other education organizations in 44 countries around the world to make up our more than 230 Certified iTEP Test Centers.

Michael started in the Philippines where he met with Hermelo Cervantes of Michigan Assessments in Manila. As you can see in the picture above, iTEP posters adorn the secure walls of this popular test site. Fortunately, Hermelo and the test center were unharmed in the recent typhoon. Michael had the good fortune of leaving the day before it hit.

Michael’s next stop was Vietnam where he met with Mark Ashwill and Pham Minh Hang of Capstone Vietnam. They can be seen above making iTEP’s US team jealous with the delicious-looking food on the table. Michael again had impeccable timing, leaving the day before natural disaster struck Vietnam as well.

New iTEP colleagues Delta Education Advisory were kind enough to take Michael to the best high school in Hanoi to meet with the headmaster there. Mr. Chinh and his daughter, Lan, of Delta, posed with Michael at the school in the photo below.

Next up was a series of training sessions with the newest iTEP distributor in China,  Cambridge Institute of International Education (CIIE). Their highly talented and clever team has already been doing a great job administering iTEP in five Chinese cities after partnering with Boston Educational Services (creators of iTEP) less than six months ago.

While in China, Michael also got the chance to visit the  ELS Shanghai school campus where he used to work for BES Chairman and former ELS President Perry Akins in 2007.

The final stop on the Asian swing was Japan, where Michael met with Japanese iTEP distributor,  IBC Publishing, in preparation for their March 21 conference. During his meetings with IBC, Michael also had the pleasure of meeting the honorable Mr. Nakagawa, a current member of the Japanese parliament and former Minister of Education (5th from the left in the photo above).

All in all a very successful trip. It was great to strengthen our connection with so many of the people who have helped iTEP gain prominence in Asia, and discuss ways for it to continue to grow.

The Future of Study Abroad

The British Council recently released a report titled, ” The future of the world’s mobile students to 2024.” The PIE News has a handy breakdown of the 45-page document, which predicts the total number of students studying abroad rising from just over 3 million in 2011 to more than 3.8 million in 2024.

This growth will likely be mirrored in the market for English proficiency testing, since, according to the report, the US will remain the top destination for students studying outside their home country. An IIE spokesman points out that with more than 4000 institutions of higher learning, the US can simply accommodate more students than the UK or Australia, which also ranked highly on the list of destinations.

Within a decade, the report predicts, China and India will account for about a third of the world’s outbound international student population. Countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, and Turkey–all of which are home to iTEP test centers–will also contribute greater numbers. China will become a top host destination as well, the report says.