With the world coping with constant challenges posed by the pandemic, it has certainly changed the way higher education is imparted and delivered. It has also made international education gain back its popularity with minimal travel curbs and a large population of the world being vaccinated (at least in the top study abroad destinations).
These developments have also redefined English-language testing, which is a prerequisite to study and work abroad in many countries. Popular testing agencies have announced a slew of new features and tests, keeping in mind the changing dynamics of language testing and requirements of individuals and institutions. Let us look at some of these and how they have undergone changes post pandemic.
- The TOEFL iBT test is a widely taken English-language test globally. It is accepted by more than 11,500 institutions in over 160 countries.
- IELTS Online allows students to take the test from the comfort of their home or a suitable location to take another step towards their career or higher education goals.
- The Duolingo English Test (DET) can be taken anywhere in the world at any time, without needing to book a slot, making it a convenient option.
TOEFL iBT Home Edition
The TOEFL iBT test is a widely taken English-language test globally. It is accepted by more than 11,500 institutions in over 160 countries. This includes universal acceptance in English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the UK and also by English-taught programs at universities in non-English speaking countries worldwide that require an English proficiency test.
The far-reaching acceptance can be attributed to a number of key elements that comprise the TOEFL iBT, including its 100% academic focus, representative of the tasks students will need to demonstrate on university campuses; the extensive research supporting the test; its reliability and validity; the attention to test design and fairness; and rigorous processes for scoring and security, among others. “All of these characteristics that make up the end-to-end testing process support its use for university study, work and immigration around the globe,” says Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program, ETS.
The TOEFL became popular among those non-native speakers who apply to English-speaking universities. This test is among the best when it comes to measuring a study abroad applicant’s English skills that would help them in university.
Rolled out this year, the IELTS Online provides another option to test takers globally. Another way to take IELTS Academic, IELTS Online allows students to take the test from the comfort of their home or a suitable location to take another step towards their career or higher education goals.
With a similar content and format as current pen-and-paper and computer-delivered IELTS tests, the IELTS Online includes a real-time face-to-face speaking test, delivered online by trained IELTS examiners.
According to Christine Nuttall, Managing Director IELTS at Cambridge Assessment English, “IELTS Online is the next step in enhancing the test taker experience around the world with greater flexibility and faster results for test takers. With the test being online, our aim is to empower more people to take IELTS.”
IELTS Online covers skills such as listening, reading, writing and speaking and will provide flexibility and confidence to test takers, using AI and security features to complement the expertise of IELTS examiners.
The agency added a purpose-built secure remote proctoring test platform with integrated video call speaking software to deliver secure English language tests to streamline the experience for test takers, examiners and proctors.
Duolingo English Test
Also taken widely, the Duolingo English Test (DET) can be taken anywhere in the world at any time, without needing to book a slot, making it a convenient option. Keeping in mind the online requirements and test delivery, such digital at-home tests are proving to be helpful for many. With the pandemic and other socio-political challenges proving a hindrance for several students and test-takers globally, having the option to take tests online across several countries has made it easier for students.
The one-hour test has a graded section to assess reading, speaking and listening skills, and a recorded video section that has open-ended questions.
Accepted by the Australian, New Zealand, and UK governments, the PTE scores are used by 3,000 universities and colleges with results typically available in 48 hours. A single, two-hour session test, the PTE follows a human approach to automated scoring with sophisticated algorithms based on thousands of real test responses. It blends the expertise of a human examiner with the precision and consistency of a machine.