English Language Testing Worldwide

Sheer with friend

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.


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:


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-

speaking countries.

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.


Source by Leon Priz

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