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IELTS : International English Language Testing System
The International English Language Testing System or IELTS™ is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world.
IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand academic institutions, by over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States, and by various professional organisations across the world.
IELTS is the only Secure English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying both outside and inside the UK. It also meets requirements for immigration to Australia, where TOEFL and Pearson Test of English Academic are also accepted,and New Zealand. In Canada, IELTS, TEF, or CELPIP are accepted by the immigration authority.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1" (“non-user") to “band 9" (“expert user") and each institution sets a different threshold. There is also a “band 0" score for those who did not attempt the test. Institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level.
The number of IELTS tests grew to a record 3.5 million in 2018.
IELTS plays a leading role in international higher education. It is recognised for entrance to universities and colleges across the English-speaking world, including 100% of universities in Australia and the United Kingdom, more than 3,400 institutions in the United States as well as hundreds of institutions in many other countries. It is also the most widely used test for visa and citizenship purposes in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Introduced in 1989, IELTS has built its worldwide reputation on a combination of secure reliable testing backed by extensive research to ensure that it meets the needs of users across a wide range of sectors including higher education institutions, government departments, healthcare regulators and employers.
An IELTS test result demonstrates not just a passive knowledge of English, but also the ability to use the language effectively in a variety of real-world contexts, and the language skills need for success in higher education, professional contexts and everyday life in English-speaking countries.
Equally important is the global availability of IELTS at over 1200 test centres in more than 140 countries and territories. Test availability increased last year with the global roll-out of computer-delivered IELTS.
Warwick Freeland, Managing Director – IELTS, IDP Education, said 2018 was a milestone year for IELTS, “Last year we introduced IELTS on computer in over 20 countries and territories around the world, which has seen us increase our testing dates from two days a week to up to seven days a week,” Mr Freeland said.
“We are committed to giving test takers more opportunities to choose the test time and format that positions them to achieve their goals,” he said.
James Shipton, Head IELTS, British Council, said: “3.5 million tests taken last year is a testament to the ongoing value and trust placed in IELTS by our partners and test takers around the world. IELTS continues to provide a gateway for people to fulfill their aspirations and behind these test numbers are the personal stories of test takers who have gained entrance to their target university, of individuals who have been able to kick-start their career, and of others who have been able to make their dream move to a life in a new country.
I think you should know the History of IELTS. Let’s go for the remarkable history of IELTS. The English Language Testing Sysem was launched in 1980 by Cambridge English Language Assessment (then known as UCLES) and the British Council. It had an innovative format, which reflected changes in language learning and teaching, including the growth in ‘communicative’ language learning and ‘English for specific purposes’. Test tasks were intended to reflect the use of language in the ‘real world’.
During the 1980s, test taker numbers were low (4,000 in 1981 rising to 10,000 in 1985) and there were practical difficulties administering the test. As a result, the ELTS Revision Project was set up to oversee the redesign of the test. In order to have international participation in the redesign, the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP), now known as IDP: IELTS Australia, joined Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council to form the international IELTS partnership which delivers the test to this day. This international partnership was reflected in the new name for the test: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
IELTS went live in 1989. Test takers took two non-specialised modules, Listening and Speaking, and two specialised modules, Reading and Writing. Test taker numbers rose by approximately 15% per year and by 1995 there were 43,000 test takers in 210 test centres around the world.
IELTS was revised again in 1995, with three main changes: