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  • A man and woman miling to eachother outside, with a tram in the background
    • English for work and migration
    • English certification and assessment

    Student Direct Stream: A quick, easy, pathway to study in Canada

    Thinking of studying abroad? Trying to find the best way to study in Canada? There are so many options/pathways that it can feel overwhelming and complicated.

    Thankfully, there is a simple and efficient way, called the Student Direct Stream (SDS). It is well-known that studying in Canada is a popular option among overseas students.

    The latest figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for 2022 show that Canada has achieved an all-time high in terms of the number of international students. By the end of October 2022, they had processed over 750,300 study permit applications.

    What is SDS?

    SDS was introduced by the Canadian Government to help students from eligible countries get their study permits quickly.

    Since its introduction, it has been a popular pathway for students looking to follow their dreams of living in Canada to study. This is because it has a streamlined application process, which requires less documentation and boasts a success rate of 70%.

    How fast can I get a study visa/permit?

    If you meet the criteria, you can use this express study permit processing route, which can be quick as 20 days.

    We are proud to announce that the Canadian Government (IRCC) now accepts our top-rated English proficiency test, PTE Academic, for SDS applications. Results are delivered in only two days, making the process of applying to study abroad in Canada even faster.

    Did you know that PTE Academic is accepted by 91% of universities and over 60% of colleges in Canada? Whether you're applying for the SDS or Non-SDS route, PTE Academic is the perfect test for you.

    You don’t have to just take our word for it, try our free English taster test and see how you get on.

    Eligibility for the SDS program

    Criteria for SDS

    To apply for a study permit through SDS, you must submit your application online and meet certain requirements. You must be migrating to study from one of these countries.

    What you need to qualify:

    • An acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI)
    • Your tuition fee paid for your first year of study
    • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD 10,000
    • A minimum score of 60 in PTE Academic

    What do I need to submit if I’m eligible?

    If you meet all the above criteria, then you will need to submit the following for your online application:

    • Letter of acceptance from a DLI
    • Proof of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) payment (certificate/letter of attestation)
    • PTE Score Report
    • Proof of payment of tuition fee for your first year of study
    • Relevant academic background with complete academic documents
    • Copy of your medical examination from an authorized panel of doctors
    • The additional requirement of CAQ for students intending to study in Quebec

    The SDS is an excellent option for those looking for a speedy and easy way to learn in Canada. With streamlined application processes, high success rates, and the acceptance of PTE Academic, it's a brilliant pathway to consider.

    If you want to learn more about PTE Academic and sign up for our updates about SDS, you can visit the PTE website.

    For further information about the SDS program, you can visit the IRCC website.

  • A teacher stood in front of a classroom of students sat at their desks
    • Language teaching
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    5 ways to deal with mixed ability students in secondary classes

    No two teenagers are the same. Within all of our classes there tends to be not only a range of English proficiency levels, but also general learning styles, maturity, motivation, and personalities. This diversity can bring some challenges, but also opportunities to vary your classroom activities and teaching methodology.

    Here are some ways to help deal with mixed-ability classes and ensure all your students experience success in their language learning journeys.

     

  • A woman holding a tablet stood in a server room
    • Technology and the future
    • English language testing

    The role of AI in English assessment

    By Pearson Languages

    Digital assessment is becoming more and more widespread in recent years. But what’s the role of digital assessment in teaching today? We’d like to give you some insight into digital assessment and automated scoring.

    Just a few years ago, there may have been doubts about the role of AI in English assessment and the ability of a computer to score language tests accurately. But today, thousands of teachers worldwide use automated language tests to assess their students’ language proficiency.

    For example, Pearson’s suite of Versant tests have been delivering automated language assessments for nearly 25 years. And since its launch in 1996, over 350 million tests have been scored. The same technology is used in Pearson’s Benchmark and Level tests.

    So what makes automated scoring systems so reliable?

    Huge data sets of exam answers and results are used to train artificial intelligence machine learning technology to score English tests the same way that human markers do. This way, we’re not replacing human judgment; we’re just teaching computers to replicate it.

    Of course, computers are much more efficient than humans. They don’t mind monotonous work and don’t make mistakes (the standard marking error of an AI-scored test is lower than that of a human-scored test). So we can get unbiased, accurate, and consistent scores.

    The top benefits of automated scoring are speed, reliability, flexibility, and free from bias.

    Speed

    The main advantage computers have over humans is that they can quickly process complex information. Digital assessments can often provide an instant score turnaround. We can get accurate, reliable results within minutes. And that’s not just for multiple-choice answers but complex responses, too.

    The benefit for teachers and institutions is that they can have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of learners taking a test simultaneously and instantly receive a score.

    The sooner you have scores, the sooner you can make decisions about placement and students’ language level or benchmark a learner’s strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments to learning that drive improvement and progress.

    Flexibility

    The next biggest benefit of digital assessment is flexible delivery models. This has become increasingly more important since online learning has become more prominent.

    Accessibility became key: how can your institution provide access to assessment for your learners, if you can’t deliver tests on school premises?

    The answer is digital assessment.

    For example, Versant, our web-based test can be delivered online or offline, on-site or off-site. All test-takers need is a computer and a headset with a microphone. They can take the test anywhere, any time of day, any day of the week, making it very flexible to fit into someone's schedule or situation. 

    Free from bias

    Impartiality is another important benefit of AI-based scoring. The AI engine used to score digital proficiency tests is completely free from bias. It doesn’t get tired, and it doesn’t have good and bad days like human markers do. And it doesn’t have a personality.

    While some human markers are more generous and others are more strict, AI is always equally fair. Thanks to this, automated scoring provides consistent, standardized scores, no matter who’s taking the test.

    If you’re testing students from around the world, with different backgrounds, they will be scored solely on their level of English, in a perfectly objective way.

    Additional benefits of automated scoring are security and cost.

    Security

    Digital assessments are more difficult to monitor than in-person tests, so security is a valid concern. One way to deal with this is remote monitoring.

    Remote proctoring adds an extra layer of security, so test administrators can be confident that learners taking the test from home don’t cheat.

    For example, our software captures a video of test takers, and the AI detection system automatically flags suspicious test-taker behavior. Test administrators can access the video anytime for audits and reviews, and easily find suspicious segments highlighted by our AI.

    Here are a few examples of suspicious behavior that our system might flag:

    Image monitoring:

    • A different face or multiple faces appearing in the frame
    • Camera blocked

    Browser monitoring:

    • Navigating away from the test window or changing tabs multiple times

    Video monitoring:

    • Test taker moving out of camera view
    • More than one person in the camera view
    • Looking away from the camera multiple times

    Cost

    Last but not least, the cost of automated English certifications are a benefit. Indeed, automated scoring can be a more cost-effective way of monitoring tests, primarily because it saves time and resources.

    Pearson English proficiency assessments are highly scalable and don’t require extra time from human scorers, no matter how many test-takers you have.

    Plus, there’s no need to spend time and money on training markers or purchasing equipment.

    AI is helping to lead the way with efficient, accessible, fair and cost-effective English test marking/management. Given time it should develop even further, becoming even more advanced and being of even more help within the world of English language learning and assessments. 

Upcoming webinars

A woman in a blue shirt studying with a laptop and wearing blue headphones
Presenter(s): Kamil Petryk

This webinar will focus on how to help learners embrace common listening challenges, including speed of delivery, a lack of visual clues, complex or unfamiliar topics and difficulty recognizing individual words and sounds.

Date: Tuesday, 11th July 

Time: 14:00 IST / 10:30 CET / 18:30 AEST

Sign up

A woman in green sweater sitting on the floor writing notes
Presenter(s): Kamil Petryk

In this webinar, we explore the timed writing element of PTE Academic and how to set up learners to succeed. Covering challenges such as finding the right words to express their ideas, how to organize their thoughts and exploring different writing formats and styles. 

Date: Tuesday, 15th August

Time: 14:00 IST / 10:30 CET / 18:30 AEST

Sign up