New option in English testing

Anna Leung

THERE is no doubt that for a large number of overseas students, an accurate assessment of their English can make the difference between success or failure. Often a student's knowledge is stronger in reading and writing.

A test of English for overseas students, which accurately tests all four primary skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking needed to succeed when studying in English, is available at IDP Education Australia, Hong Kong.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) gives a very reliable indication of how well overseas students will cope in an English study situation. Scores produce a profile of candidate's ability in each of the four skills and point specifically to any areas of weakness.

Such an approach shows where it might be necessary for students to take special English courses before entry into their main study programme.

A 1988 survey of 600 overseas students at British universities found that nearly 20 per cent were having problems with their studies. A 1990 report on overseas students at British polytechnics found that 23 per cent were failing their courses. In both cases the main problem was English.

IELTS is jointly managed by IDP Education Australia, the British Council, and the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Unit (UCLES). It is administered and regularly monitored by UCLES, which examines over 100,000 candidates every year in the field of English as a foreign language.

The need for a test like IELTS has been understood for some time and reflects new developments in English testing. IELTS is also designed to meet the needs of Australian and British Universities, colleges and polytechnics, professional and technical institutions, and an increasing number of institutions in North America, New Zealand and elsewhere.

The test is scheduled every two weeks in Hong Kong and results are available just three weeks after the test. The cost is $1,100.

For more information on IELTS , call AEC on 827-8298.

Ms Leung is manager of IDP Education Australia Ltd, HK