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Linguaskill: The computer adaptive test

Just like language learning, language testing is moving online. Cambridge Exam English has introduced the latest of their range of qualifications for learners of English. Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Exam English helps millions of people to learn English, as well as proving their English skills through their globally recognised qualifications.

The new Linguaskill assessment is an adaptive test, which offers candidates the opportunity to test their English level with graded questions that are matched to their level of ability. One of the main advantages of this test is that it is impossible to fail it (below A2), therefore candidates will always get a qualification on completing it. When referring to adaptive, it means that each question depends on the candidate’s own performance in the previous question.

As the test is an adaptive test, the number of questions in the reading and listening skills sections is variable. The computer based program will continue until a satisfactory measurement of the candidate´s level is achieved.

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The benefits of adaptive tests include:

The new adaptive-test format of Linguaskill is an innovative alternative to conventional leveled testing. The exam offers candidates to consult their English level in a way that will always have a quantifiable end product.  

 

Efficiency: computer based testing is fast and efficient

Results: the results are reliable and will get to the candidate much quicker than with other standardized tests

Security: as tests are adapted to each candidate, the questions change depending on responses and thus enhancing security

Flexibility: as the test is online, the availability of said exam is at any time or date

Price: the test is online and more cost effective than conventional testing methods

Accepted: by over 20,000 organisations worldwide

Available: 5.5 million assessments taken every year in 2,800 exam centres in 130 countries

Experienced: providing English language assessments since 1913

 

Exam overview:

Linguaskill is a computer-based English language assessment from Cambridge Exam English. The exam is divided into two sections (see overview) and the candidates are assessed based on their responses. The test length is variable and only finishes when the computer has a sufficient sample of data to understand their level.

Download the PDF overview HERE

 

Activities: Reading and listening

What do you need to do in the exam?

 

Reading: about 40-60 minutes

Part 1: Read and select.

Candidates need to read a short text (note, letter, memo, label, diagram) and choose the sentence that matches it (A, B or C). Part 1 assesses the reading comprehension skills of the candidate and the ability to identify synonyms and antonyms to be able to logically select the correct option.

Part 2: Gapped sentences.

Read a sentence with a missing word and fill in the gap (A, B, C or D). Part 2 assesses the candidates lexis and understanding of word patterns, collocations, phrasal verbs and vocabulary in context to be able to logically select the correct option.  

Part 3: Multiple-choice gaps.

Candidates read a text and fill in the gaps with the correct word (A, B, C or D). Part 3 assesses the candidates lexis and understanding of word patterns, collocations and phrasal verbs to be able to logically select the correct option.

Part 4: One word gaps.

Candidates read a short text and fill in the gaps with the missing word. Part 4 assesses the candidates ability of word classes and grammatical structures to be able to fill in the gap in the text.

Part 5: Extended reading.

Candidates read a longer text and answer a series of multiple-choice questions (A, B, C or D). The questions are in order. Part 5 assesses the comprehension skills of the candidate and the ability to identify synonyms and antonyms to be able to logically select the correct option.

 

Listening: about 20-25 minutes

Part 1: Listen and select.

Candidates listen to a short recording and answer the multiple-choice questions (A, B or C). Part 1 assesses the listening comprehension skills of the candidate and the ability to identify synonyms and antonyms to be able to logically select the correct option.

Part 2: Extended listening.

Candidates listen to a longer recording and answer a series of multiple choice questions based on it (A, B or C). Part 2 assesses the listening comprehension skills of the candidate and the ability to identify synonyms and antonyms to be able to logically select the correct option.

 

Activities: Writing and speaking

Writing: about 45 minutes

Part 1: Email.

Respond to an email and answer the three points given. (50 words). Part 1 assesses the candidates ability to give a short response to information in writing based on the information in the question provided.

Part 2: Long text.

Candidates read a short scenario and respond to it using the three bullet points. (180 words). Part 2 assesses the candidates ability to express themselves with an extended piece of writing. The text format is either a letter or a report.

 

Speaking: about 15 minutes

Part 1: Interview.

The candidate needs to answer 8 questions about themselves (the first two are not marked). Part 1 assesses the candidates ability to respond to questions about their life with fluency, familiar vocabulary and accurate grammar.

Part 2: Reading aloud.

The candidate needs to read 8 sentences aloud. Part 2 assesses the candidates pronunciation and intonation.

Part 3: Long turn (1)

The candidate needs to talk about a topic for 1 minute (40 seconds to prepare). Part 3 assesses the candidates ability to give an organised and extended answer using cohesive devices and discourse markers.

Part 4: Long turn (2)

The candidate is given one or more pieces of information (chart, graph or sheet) and talk about it for 1 minute (1 minute to prepare). Part 4 assesses the candidates ability to analyse information and give an organise and extended response to the information provided.

Part 5: Communicative activity.

The candidate gives their opinion in the form of short answers to 5 separate questions related to a topic (1 minute for preparation). Part 5 assesses the candidates ability to give a fluent response to a question on a familiar topic.

 

Evaluation scale:

CEFR Design_06_04_2018

The Linguaskill exam is tested against the Cambridge English Scale according to the CEFR level for each tested skill so that the candidates can see where they have performed well and also where they can improve. Each candidate is provided with an overall average result if they are tested on all skills.  Along with the exam results, each candidate will receive a test report form that includes a brief description of what a candidate can do at each CEFR level.

SCORE CEFR LEVEL
180+ C1+ and above
160-179 B2
140-159 B1
120-139 A2
100-119 A1
82-92 below A1

The Linguaskill results are provided in a clear and understandable test report form:

 

Download an example form in the following link:

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https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/Images/Linguaskill%20Example%204-Skill%20Test%20Report.PDF

 

Results: One of the main advantages of computer-adaptive tests like Linguaskill is the results. The time between doing the actual exam and receiving the results is much shorter than conventional linear testing methods.

Reading and listening: exam duration (60-85 minutes)

The results of the reading and listening part of the exam are given immediately after finishing the exam.

Writing and speaking: exam duration (about 60 minutes)

The candidate´s responses are recorded on the exam platform for both the writing and speaking parts of the exam, and the candidates later receive their results. The results of the writing within 12 hours and the speaking within 48 hours.

 

Sign up to the exam HERE

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