A guide to the Pearson assessment suite
Are you stuck on which English exam or test to offer your students? You’re not alone – there are lots of different assessments to choose from and it’s often hard to see how they are different and why you should select one over another.
We’re bringing it all together in this handy guide to help you decide which English language assessment is right for your students.
Exams for young learners
Language exams can be quite daunting for your younger students, especially if they’re taking them for the first time. That’s why we think it’s important to ensure what they have to do is interesting, fun, and motivating.
English Benchmark and Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exams are designed with this in mind, so let’s take a closer look at them both.
Who it's for: This assessment is aimed at young learners aged between 6 and 13, and who have Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels between pre-A1 and B1. English Benchmark is a great tool for teachers who want a simple way to assess the English abilities of their classes at any stage of the year.
With individual reports produced quickly after completion, parents and teachers can quickly see where their children are on the Global Scale of English (GSE) or CEFR. This can help assess their readiness for the next step, such as the Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exam.
What it tests: English Benchmark aims to assess a student’s competence in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing (with the exception of Level 1, which does not test writing). It covers five different ability levels, with three tests per level.
Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners
Who it's for: This test is for young learners who are again aged between 6 and 13, and whose CEFR levels range from pre-A1 to A2. It is available in over 40 territories worldwide, and at different times of the year.
Upon completion, the learners will be able to take pride in receiving an official certificate from EdExcel, the UK’s largest governing body for academic qualifications.
What it tests: International Certificate Young Learners focuses again on integrating all four of the main skills and these are divided over four ability levels – Firstwords (Level 1), Springboard (Level 2), Quickmarch (Level 3), Breakthrough (Level 4). It focuses on completing realistic communicative tasks throughout, giving them a great first experience of official assessment.
Spread out over two separate written and speaking parts; the learners are encouraged to talk effectively about their own lives, rather than simply reciting grammatical or vocabulary structures. This includes activities such as board games and picture matching.
Exams for adults
There are many reasons why your students may need to take a language exam. Some adults need proof of their level for work or university, companies may wish to analyze the abilities of their staff, or individuals may be keen on pursuing a personal goal.
Whatever the motivation, choosing the correct assessment is crucial. By checking out the summaries below of all our assessment options for adults, you’ll be sure you’ve picked the best one.
Pearson English International Certificate
Who it's for: Pearson English International Certificate (PEIC) is designed for adults of any level who use English in a variety of daily activities, such as with work, at university or socially. As a result, we’ve ensured that the content of PEIC is suitable for learners in any part of the world, age-appropriate, and available at various times of the year.
With its widely recognized Ofqual accreditation, PEIC is excellent for those needing a general English certificate for their work or higher-educational institutions.
What it tests: Throughout the six-level options, ranging from A1 (beginner) to Level 5 C2 (proficiency), authentic materials regarding specific themes are frequently used to assess all four key skills.
Learners will complete tasks related to note completion, letter or email writing, and speaking role plays, along with defending a point of view at higher levels. This reinforces the PEIC as an exam which best suits those who complete everyday tasks in English.
Who it's for: If your learners are looking for reliable, unbiased proof of their English level for immigration or studying abroad, then the Pearson Test of English Academic is perfect for them. Widely recognized by governments for their visa application processes, and multiple leading universities such as Harvard University in the USA, PTE Academic can be found in over 50 locations globally.
In addition, the exam is 100% computer-based, can be accessed over 360 days of the year, and can be booked only 24 hours in advance. This suits students and professionals who require more flexibility and benefit from the results being available after only 5 business days.
What it tests: PTE Academic uses the latest Artificial Intelligence software. This means students can be confident that they’re given an unbiased grade for the four main skills they are tested on. The initial speaking and writing sections assess your learner’s abilities to produce responses to questions and scenarios using academic English.
This theme continues through the subsequent listening and reading sections, where candidates complete various tasks such as interpreting information, reordering paragraphs, and summarizing a spoken text.
Who it's for: Pearson’s Versant tests are designed for businesses that require a simple, quick and reliable way to assess the English competence of their current or prospective staff. Furthermore, they suit educational institutes that require an efficient way to evaluate the English capabilities of their students before, during, or after their courses.
What it tests: The suite of four different English exams is tailored to suit different requirements, depending on the client's needs. Ranging from 17 to 50 minutes in length, the skills tested will vary from a specific written (Versant Writing Test) or spoken focus (Versant English Test), to the Versant English Placement Test and Versant 4 Skills Essential which integrate all four skills.
Speaking tests are also available in additional languages including Arabic, Dutch, French, and Spanish for dual language programs.
All Versant tests are fully automated, and available online or offline throughout the year. This means that you’ll be able to access the results immediately afterwards.
Who it's for: If you work for an educational institute and need a way to efficiently deliver, mark and administer a placement test for new students, then Placement is perfect for you. Our adaptive software means this single test will generate questions depending on your student’s previous responses, and therefore is suitable for beginner to advanced level learners.
This results in a single, fair and unique testing procedure, along with reliable GSE and CEFR grades upon completion.
What it tests: Placement is a 50-minute, computer-based assessment that tests the students on a wide range of topics, including the four skills, plus vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Using real-life English content reflecting life in the classroom, students complete tasks such as choosing the correct word or phrase, error correction, dictation completion and describing visuals.