English – the international language – what would we do without it? People
can complain until the cows come home that they must learn English, and
about how insane the spelling rules (or lack of them) are; but, the simple
fact is that English IS the international language.
If you want to be a competitive job-seeker in this adv globalized world,
you’ve got to have English skills.
I have been lucky to have been born in a native-English-speaking country,
which affords me the opportunity to teach English globally. I have been
teaching English overseas for 16 years now,
in various countries. The teaching of the English language is a world-wide
market. While there is no way to actually count the number English-
Foreign-Language learners and English-Second-Language learners in the
world, here are some impressive estimates.[ad_1]
Kenneth Beare, on About.com, in his article entitled “How many people learn English globally,” wrote the following:
“It is estimated that over 1 billion people are currently learning English
worldwide. According to the British Council, as of the year 2000 there were
750 million English-as-a-Foreign-Language speakers. In addition, there were
375 million English- as-a-Second-Language speakers. The difference
between the two groups amounts to English-as-a-Foreign-Language
speakers using English sometimes for business or pleasure, while English-as-a-Second-Language speakers use English on a daily basis. ”
I must interject here and say that English-as-a-Foreign-Language learners
are those that acquire English in settings where English is NOT the primary language of instruction, such as in a public school in Mongolia.
English-as-a-Second-Language learners are those that acquire English in
settings where English IS the primary language of instruction, such as in a public school in the USA or in an international K-12 school.
The numbers of English-language learners worldwide are impressive; and the numbers grow daily, because when someone graduates from schools,
many continue to learn English in order to obtain a good job, or obtain a promotion within their company.
Because of this huge market, there is a niche for standardized testing.
Level tests, formative tests, summative tests, are all needed, with
international standards. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these exams:
IELTS, CIPP, Checkpoint, IGCSE, TOEIC, TOEFL, and CAPE.
Let’s start with IELTS. IELTS stands for International Testing System.
It is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the
University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). It has more
than 800 test centers and locations in over 130 countries. primarily used as
a college entrance exam by universities in the United Kingdom and
Commonwealth countries for students originating from non-English-
CIPP stands for Cambridge International Primary Program. At the end of
the Grades-1-to-5 program, students sit for Maths, Science and English
exams. Cambridge Checkpoint is a middle years program, from grades 6 to
8, after which students sit for Maths,
Science and English exams. IGCSE stands for International General
Certificate of Secondary Education, for grades 9-11. All the exams presented
in this paragraph are owned and operated by Cambridge International
Examinations (or CIE).
TOEFL and TOEIC are owned and operated by English Testing Services
(ETS). I used to be under the impression that Princeton University owned
ETS, but that’s not true. ETS is located very near to Princeton, but
ownership is dubious. According to the article on Wikipedia’s website ETS
was started by three non-profit organizations;
However, ETS appears to be an independent organization of its own. TOEFL
stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. It is primarily used by
universities in the USA and Canada as an entrance exam for students
outside the US and Canada, which do not come from English-first-language
countries. TOEIC stands for Test Of English for International
Communication. It is primarily used in the business sector to assess
employee or potential employee English ability.
CAPE stands for Computer Adaptive Placement Exam. It is a computer-
based level-test, used by over 400 universities in the USA to place students
into the proper level of language courses. Those languages include ESL,
Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Chinese.
The language one of concern here is the ESL-CAPE exam. CAPE was
designed by Brigham Young University (BYU) professors to test returned
Latter Day Saint (LDS) missionaries’ language skills, and give them college
credits for their language skills. Now it is run by Perpetual Technology
Group (PTG), which has turned it into a web-based exam, called “webCAPE”.
PTG is the exclusive licensee of Brigham Young University’s webCAPE. PTG
has been offering webCAPE since 2004 and now has over 200
institutionalized clients globally.
So, when it comes to International testing, that’s about it. Each test serves a
different purpose, and it seems that various institutions in the world have
found their niche in the English language testing market.