As a forward-looking institution, Exams Andalucía is always searching for new ways to help candidates to assess their English level. Through researching the market, it identified a clear gap for a more flexible, multilevel test that delivered faster results, without compromising accuracy.
‘We want to be able to support two types of candidates. For those who want to learn English and work abroad, we would always recommend Cambridge English Qualifications. Alongside this we saw the opportunity to help those who need to prove their English levels, at a specific time, and at short notice,’ says Abel Barranco, Digital Marketing Manager, Exams Andalucía.
Exams Andalucía identified three specific areas where a multilevel test would provide added value for candidates. Firstly, for university students looking to study on Erasmus scholarships, who need to certify their English level to be accepted on the programme. Secondly, students who must demonstrate competence in the language prior to graduation or moving onto Master’s programmes. Finally, it identified a requirement from those already working who needed to accredit their English skills officially.
As a Platinum centre, Exams Andalucía has built a strong relationship with Cambridge English. It therefore quickly saw the potential for Linguaskill to help its candidates. A modular, multilevel test, Linguaskill assesses all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). It delivers results in 48 business hours, graded against the internationally recognised Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). It is endorsed by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and the Spanish Association of Language Centres in Higher Education (ACLES).
We quickly saw that Linguaskill stood out for its accuracy, with results that closely matched our own CEFR levels.
‘There are multiple multilevel tests now available, so Exams Andalucía staff took all these exams and compared them,’ explains Abel Barranco. Other tests were much less precise, so Linguaskill’s results and the Cambridge brand gave us real confidence in offering it to candidates.’
Introducing Yellow Fridays across Andalucía
Exams Andalucía works with leading English language schools and academies from across the region. To demonstrate the benefits of Linguaskill it invited the heads of the top 50 of these institutions to try Linguaskill for themselves in February 2019, supported by Cambridge English.
Thanks to their positive experience and enthusiastic response, Linguaskill was officially introduced in March 2019. Exams Andalucía now runs weekly Yellow Fridays (based on the colour of the Linguaskill brand), with candidates able to sign up via its website and complete the test in one of four towns across the region. It also provides full support, including videos explaining Linguaskill, and links to practice tests for candidates.
Development through listening
Even though Linguaskill is proved in the market, the test is being continually developed thanks to feedback from candidates and institutions such as Exams Andalucía.
‘We find administering Linguaskill to be very straightforward, with the support team always available to listen to any queries we might have,’ Abel Barranco notes. ‘It is really positive to see some of the suggestions we’ve made become part of the product. This shows Cambridge Assessment’s commitment to both Linguaskill and its partners.’
Positive candidate feedback
‘People really like the speed of Linguaskill. It is quick to register, and they get results just 48 business hours after completion,’ adds Abel Barranco. ‘They can take it at a convenient time and location, and they know the Cambridge brand stands for quality and understand that they will get reliable results. Many candidates are now recommending it to their friends, showing what a positive experience they have had.’
Linguaskill’s modular design also makes it simple for candidates to retake individual modules, if they want to show improvements in specific skills or increase their score. These can be combined with existing results, with Linguaskill automatically choosing the best marks in each module to create a combined score.
‘We saw a gap in our product offering for a fast, accurate multilevel test. Linguaskill is the perfect solution for our candidates, delivering a quality experience that is quick, reliable and simple to administer – we see a bright future for Linguaskill at Exams Andalucía,’ concludes Abel Barranco
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