Pearson Launches New Global Test of English

New computer-based measure of English language ability available to test takers from October 26, 2009

University Programmes Around the World Recognise PTE Academic

LONDON - Sept. 8, 2009 - Pearson, the worldwide global leader in technology and assessment for education, announced today the launch of Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), the company's new computer-based academic test of English language proficiency. The test, which will be available to test takers from October 26, 2009, measures the English language skills of non-native English speakers who are seeking admission to institutions where English is the language of instruction. PTE Academic is endorsed by the prestigious Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®), owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®).

The test, which has been already recognised, or is in the process of being recognised, by more than 770 programmes around the globe, uses Pearson's proven automated scoring technologies to provide a test that accurately measures the English-language listening, reading, speaking and writing abilities of non-native speakers. The new test will serve the growing need of universities to measure the English-language proficiency of students from countries around the world seeking to study at English-speaking institutions, including a mounting number of test takers from China and India. The test was developed through worldwide field tests involving more than 10,400 international students, and will deliver measures of test takers' proficiency to higher education institutions, government departments and other organisations requiring academic English.

"Pearson has been teaching English around the world for a long time, and the Pearson Test of English is another step to widen and deepen our work in that area," said Marjorie Scardino, chief executive officer, Pearson plc. "This innovative computer-based test is designed to give schools and employers a lot more to go on a lot more quickly when they're trying to decide whether a candidate is ready to learn in English or work in English.  We hope that will help both sides of that equation realise their goals - and help the world become a little closer in the bargain."

PTE Academic will be delivered through the company's global network of secure testing centres. During the launch period, the test will be available in a minimum of 20 territories including China, Taiwan, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, India and Canada, with the number of centres offering the test continuing to grow over the next year. Test takers will be able to register and schedule their test online at a date and time that suits them. PTE Academic will be competitively priced in each market and prices in the launch countries will range from $150 to $210 USD.

The colleges and universities now accepting PTE Academic scores are located in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, the UK and the US. Among the recognising institutions for PTE Academic are an increasing number of the world's most prestigious and renowned colleges and universities, such as London Business School, University of British Columbia, Queen's University Belfast, University of Edinburgh, HEC Paris and Yale University's Yale College. The test is designed to more precisely predict the ability of test takers to function in an English-speaking academic environment.

"We are proud of the widespread acceptance that we have seen of PTE Academic in the year following its initial announcement and look forward to now offering test takers around the world the opportunity to take our cutting-edge test," said Mark Anderson, president, Pearson Language Tests. "Building on the foundation of our expertise as the worldwide leader in educational assessment, technology and publishing, we have developed a premier test that will give colleges, universities and other institutions confidence that the students they are admitting to study have the requisite language skills necessary for success in an environment where English is the primary language of instruction."

Pearson's other English-language teaching activities include textbooks and online material published under the Longman brand, Penguin Readers to introduce learners to classic literature and other works, and two chains of English-language schools in China, which operate under the Wall Street English and Longman Schools brands.

To prepare for PTE Academic, test takers can visit where a variety of test preparation materials are available. An official scored online practice test is available for test takers to predict how they will score on the actual test. As a special introductory offer, the practice test can be purchased for $20 USD (RRP $45 USD). In addition, there is an unscored practice test and a free test tutorial demonstrating each of the 20 integrated and often innovative question types.

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About PTE Academic

PTE Academic is a new computer-based test of international academic English. Through the use of 20 integrated and often innovative item types, the test meets the needs of universities, other higher education institutions and professional and government organisations requiring a real-life measure of test takers' ability to deal with academic English in communication.

A unique feature of PTE Academic is that test takers' verbal and written responses are marked using Pearson's automated scoring technologies. Research shows that the automated scoring technologies underlying PTE Academic produce scores comparable to human raters but with the accuracy, consistency and objectivity of a machine, ensuring maximum reliability and validity.

Unlike human judgement which can be influenced by a variety of factors, an automated scoring system is impartial. This means that the system is not "distracted" by language-irrelevant factors such as test takers' appearance or personality such as might happen in spoken interview tests. In addition, the impartiality of automated scoring means that test takers can be confident that they are being judged solely on their language performance and institutions can be confident that they would have earned the same result, regardless of where in the world the test had been administered.

For more information about the automated scoring technologies used to score PTE Academic, visit to download the white paper PTE Academic and Automated Scoring.

About Pearson Language Tests

Pearson Language Tests (PLT) is part of Pearson plc. PLT is developing PTE Academic in collaboration with the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®). Pearson Language Tests delivers a suite of English language proficiency tests called Pearson Tests of English. This currently includes the following products:

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

Pearson Test of English General (PTE General)

Pearson Test of English Young Learners (PTE Young Learners).

About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalised learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for pre-K through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programmes and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, visit