Most centres for English language testing were shut in most countries across the globe in the past few months. Testing operations have been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we saw the introduction of a wider range of at-home and online testing options. Some test centres are now beginning to re-open and more are expected to offer some level of test availability by July.
Some major updates for June 2020:
Pearson received formal approval from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in May as a Secure English Language Tests (SELT) provider. The approval allows Pearson to provide PTE testing for those planning to live, work, or study in the UK. The testing will initially be available in 20 designated locations, including in China. 11 of the locations are open to deliver testing, and 9 will open once individual COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. It is expected that all remaining SELT testing locations, including the UK, will become operational in phases during this summer.
The test is available in three variants:
PTE Academic: For applications to UK higher education institutions that accept PTE Academic (degree level or above only)
PTE Academic UKVI: For all UK visas that require a four skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) Secure English Language Test
PTE Home: For all UK visas that require a two skills (speaking and listening) Secure English Language Test
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has announced that it has set contingency plans to support continued TOEFL testing in China, even as test centres remain closed. ETS has also launched an at-home testing service that is widely available around the world. Mainland China was a notable exception for the at-home tests, and ETS has now established a weekly cycle of paper-based TOEFL iTP testing backed by an unscored video interview provided by Vericant.
IELTS has also launched an at-home testing service called IELTS Indicator.
Cambridge Assessment English’s Linguiskill
Cambridge Assessment English’s AI-powered Linguiskill test will be available as at-home testing option via an additional option for third-party proctoring services.
Thanks to its virtual proctoring service, the iTEP Academic Plus is available for at-home testing in markets around the world, including China. The test if offered on an on-demand basis, and scores are delivered to partner schools within 24 hours of testing.
A number of Language Cert test centres have resumed operations. Its 31 global SELT centres are operational, complying with local policy and guidelines regarding COVID-19. LanguageCert testing is also available online, with live invigilation by online proctors.
Duolingo’s one-hour, AI-powered online test – which includes a live interview component with an online proctor – is another readily available at-home testing option. In recent months, the test has become more widely accepted by universities in major study destinations as institutions have moved to introduce more flexible admissions requirements for students where normal testing operations have been disrupted by the pandemic.