On 13 November 2018, Cambridge Assessment English will launch a new multilevel test called ‘Linguaskill’ in Spain.
With the range of exams already offered by Cambridge Assessment English, you may wonder why they have gone to the trouble of introducing a new product. The simple answer is that Linguaskill will provide candidates and organisations with a different sort of assessment to the Cambridge English Qualifications with which we are all familiar, like the B2 First or C1 Advanced. In this way people will be offered more choice when deciding which type of assessment is most appropriate for their needs. But what exactly are the differences between Linguaskill and the Cambridge English Qualifications?
There are significant differences in format. Unlike the Cambridge English Qualifications which are aimed at a particular level, Linguaskill is a multilevel test. Because it is an online test, the format can adapt to the candidate, posing different questions in response to the candidates’ capacity to respond and thus cater for candidates from below A1 to C1 and above.
Linguaskill is also modular and candidates can choose to take the combination of modules which best suits their needs. The three modules are:
- Reading and Listening
The Linguaskill test is available ‘on demand’ in the sense that it can be taken whenever an organisation chooses to schedule a session. This may be an open session organised by a Linguaskill Agent like Exams Catalunya at one of their exam venues, or a ‘closed’ session arranged on-site for a specific group of candidates, at a university or in a company for example.
Because the Cambridge English Qualifications provide certification of candidates’ proficiency at a specific level, this kind of flexibility is not possible and the Qualifications can only be taken on the dates scheduled worldwide by Cambridge Assessment English. Nowadays though, with the combination of computer-based and paper-based sessions, this is not much of a disadvantage, as candidates have a wide variety of dates to choose from.
It is important to recognise that Linguaskill results are unlike Qualifications in that no certificate is issued. Results are presented in a test report. This is an important distinction because one of the most valuable things about taking a Qualification is that candidates receive a certificate from the University of Cambridge and these certificates are widely recognised throughout the world by employers, academic institutions and other organisations, as evidence of a person’s level of English over four skills.
Another key difference is that the Reading, Listening and Writing marks for Linguaskill are automarked by computers. Eventually it is thought that Speaking may also be automarked, but for the moment, the Speaking module will be marked by human markers. Because the modules are automarked, results for Linguaskill can be issued very quickly. The Reading and Listening module results are issued immediately and Writing and Speaking, within days of taking the test.
Impact on learning
Candidates are more likely to undertake a course of study in the lead up to taking a Qualification in order to achieve the best possible result on their certificate. Linguaskill on the other hand requires little preparation as it provides a ‘snapshot’ of a candidate’s level and it can also be focused on just one or two skills according to the needs of the candidate. This means that the impact on learning is more positive for candidates who choose Qualifications – often the decision to take a Qualification gives candidates the impetus they need to improve their level.
A multilevel test vs. a proficiency test
Linguaskill is a multilevel test and for this reason it is useful for organisations wishing to grade the levels of groups of candidates – they can all take one test and a group report can be issued showing their levels relative to others in the group.
The Cambridge English Qualifications on the other hand provide a more in-depth view of a candidate’s language proficiency at a specific level and over the four language skills. Because of this, a certificate can be issued that will be of great use to candidates in their future.
As you can see there are some important difference between Linguaskill and the Qualifications. What’s great to know is that there are assessment options offered by Cambridge Assessment English to suit a variety of needs and purposes. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want any further information (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check the information on our webpage!