English Language Testing in Australia and IELTS
From The Australian’s High Wired update: Testing times for language assessment. THE changing face of English language testing…..
‘Monopoly busters: It took the Immigration Department just four years of concerted reviewing before it agreed to overturn IELTS’ exclusive right to assess the English language skills of Australian student visa applicants. No matter that lesser lights like the US and UK had happily used tests like TOEFL for decades; Australia dotted every I and crossed every T before inviting TOEFL, Cambridge and Pearson into the game in late 2011. The department has now reviewed this bold move with a careful analysis of data, submissions, interviews and surveys conducted over the year since. “The department is satisfied that the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (iBT), Cambridge: CAE and Pearson English language tests met the objectives of the student visa programme during the review period,” concludes a report posted on its website on the user-friendly date of Christmas Eve.
Tread with caution: The three new providers “updated their test content regularly, employed trained markers and invigilators and implemented standardised testing conditions in all test centres,” the report says. The reviewers were also happy with security measures and the storage of test material. So presumably, the department can now confidently relinquish the IELTS monopoly on language testing for other types of visas, such as the post-study work visa? Don’t hold your breath. “The department is currently examining the risks and benefits associated with the proposed expansion of the alternative tests to other visa programmes,” the report says.
Lingo lucre: They might have got a look-in at last, but the Australian visa market has hardly proved lucrative for the three newcomers. TOEFL, Cambridge and Pearson tested a combined 2.76 per cent of the 16,143 wannabes who applied for Australian student visas during the review period, the report says. Cambridge’s share was a grand total of three applicants. “It may take longer than 12 months to gain a larger market share of English language testing for Australian students,” the report observes.’
Australian preference for large companies and monopolies who are ‘connected’?
More information about IELTS TOEFL Cambridge Online Study Resources AIEC Australian International Education Centre.