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August 2012

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About PTE Academic

PTE Academic is offered year-round at more than 200 test centers in 44 countries and is accepted by 3,000 programs, including more than 200 MBA programs worldwide. Approximately 55 percent of the test takers get their results back the day after they take the exam, and 95 percent get their results within five business days. A series of videos demonstrating all 21 question types is available.

PTE Academic Measures English Skills That Translate to Classroom Use

Speaking in class and listening to lectures are areas noted for improvement for Chinese citizens studying at English-speaking universities, according to research conducted by Pearson, creators of the Pearson Test of English Academic, accepted by more than 3,000 programs worldwide.

The ongoing research explores the relevance and accuracy of PTE Academic, which was launched in October 2009 to measure English language skills relevant to the classroom. Score data on four communicative skills and six enabling skills from a 10,000-person sampling of test takers yield results similar to a field test of 10,000 test takers undertaken before the launch, said John de Jong, Pearson senior vice president and professor of language testing at VU University, Amsterdam.

“These results show that PTE Academic is testing what it should be testing, with a high level of accuracy. The scores for the enabling skills are particularly informative of what students should pay attention to,” de Jong said.

Chinese citizens are close to world norms in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse. But they lag on skills such as speaking, especially fluency and pronunciation and listening. In a further qualitative study, smaller groups of Chinese citizens studying at Leicester University in the UK were given a practice test, surveyed, and interviewed in Chinese about their classroom challenges. The survey and interview findings show their biggest classroom challenges─speaking in class and listening to lectures─ correlate to their performance on the exam overall.

One student interviewed said listening in class was particularly challenging because of the variety of accents, as lecturers came from not just England but also Russia and Africa, de Jong noted.

“One criticism we’ve had about the test is that we use all kinds of accents” in the listening portions, de Jong added. “It is a fair and realistic feedback and one that we fully embrace.  PTE Academic assesses real-life English abilities and we must remember whichever university students go to, there will always be teachers from other countries and different varieties of English.”

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