Media Centre Archive 2011
Statement regarding ABC Radio program ‘Background
Briefing’ - May 2011
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Background
program on 22 May 2011 highlighted that candidates
are attempting to cheat in IELTS tests to gain higher band scores
needed for immigration and residency in Australia.
The program found no evidence that attempts to cheat had
been successful. This is despite a promotional trailer for the
program implying that ways to cheat had been
IELTS actively participated in the program to
send a message to candidates who may be considering attempts to
cheat. During the course of the full radio program it becomes
clear that the varied attempts to cheat will be foiled by the IELTS
The program highlighted many of the features
of IELTS, including rigorous systems for recruiting, training and
managing IELTS examiners and the close working relationships with
the government departments and other organisations that use and
rely on IELTS scores.
IELTS clearly states:
- IELTS has highly effective security and quality control systems
to prevent and detect attempted fraud and cheating. Security
screening and procedures before, on and following test days are
designed to take account of a full range of techniques that could
be applied as part of a fraud attempt.
- Fraudsters claim to be able to help candidates to achieve
better results, or will try to sell fake question papers.
This is an attempt to exploit innocent candidates, leaving
them vulnerable to serious legal consequences. IELTS
collaborates actively with public authorities in many countries to
counter this criminal activity.
- The development of IELTS tests is based on extensive research
to ensure that each test is a valid and reliable measure of English
language proficiency for education, migration or professional
accreditation purposes. The test continues to be effectively
used for immigration purposes in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and
- The test is of consistent difficulty wherever and whenever it
is taken – IELTS is not an easy test however it is designed to be
- Candidates cannot improve their scores simply by taking the
test over and over again within a short time period. To
improve their scores, candidates must improve their English
language skills. Improving language skills is a slow and
intensive process. This is important information that was not
addressed in Background Briefing.
IELTS is a high stakes test and life-changing
opportunities can depend on results gained in the test. Security is
a matter that IELTS takes very seriously. Participation in stories
such as Background Briefing is demonstration of the
commitment of IELTS to quality, integrity and
IELTS Professional Development Workshop in New
LOS ANGELES, February 1, 2011 – Join IELTS
International for an ESL teacher workshop on March 15, 2011 in New
Orleans, LA. As the world’s leading English language proficiency
test, IELTS is used to provide evidence that non-native speakers
have the English skills required for academic success. IELTS is
trusted by over 6,000 organizations around the world, including
over 3,000 institutions and programs in the U.S. IELTS tested over
1.5 million candidates globally in 2010. Registration for the
workshop is free.
The IELTS professional development workshop
will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm at the
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, one day prior to the opening of
the TESOL 2011 Annual Convention. The free workshop will provide an
introductory overview for ESL teachers who are interested in
developing an IELTS test preparation course, and offer
complimentary copies of IELTS resource and preparation materials.
Participants will examine the basic test format, task types,
writing and speaking test samples, and learn how to integrate IELTS
preparation into academic course curricula.
“More and more international ESL students
studying in the U.S. want to take IELTS and are asking their
teachers for information,” said Richard Halstead, U.S. Regional
Manager for IELTS International. “We hope the information and
resources provided will allow teachers to advise students about
IELTS and successfully prepare them to do well on the test.”
Participation, refreshments and resources
are complimentary. Due to limited space, interested teachers are
asked to RSVP their name, title, institution, phone number and
email to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before
March 1, 2011.
For more information on IELTS, please visit
IELTS breaks the 1.5 million tests mark - 9 March
IELTS has cemented its position as the world’s most popular high
stakes English language test with latest figures revealing a record
1.5 million tests were taken around the world in 2010.
Representing over 15 consecutive years of global growth, the
number of tests taken has increased year-on-year annually since
North America followed by the Philippines and Hong Kong
experienced the largest growth over the year, whilst China,
Australia and India continue to retain their positions as the
largest markets for IELTS.
Tony Pollock, Chief Executive of IDP: IELTS Australia, speaking
on behalf of the three IELTS partners said, “We believe the
increase in the number of IELTS tests taken can be attributed to
two key factors. Firstly, we have seen greater test
accessibility with 800 locations in 130 countries now
“There are also over 6,000 institutions globally that rely on
the rigour and reliability of the IELTS test to make informed
decisions where English language skills are a key requirement,
including universities, employers, professional bodies and
immigration authorities,” he continued.
IELTS provides a reliable measure of a candidate’s ability
across the four skills of listening, reading, writing and
Candidates cited the number one reason for taking the test in
2010 was in pursuit of entry into an academic institution, followed
by migration purposes.
“IELTS continues to help change people’s lives as they look for
opportunities around the world – whether that be in education, for
migration or employment. That’s why IELTS is a high stakes
test and also why it’s so critical that the test continue to be a
robust and rigorous measure of English language proficiency.
“With 1.5 million tests delivered last year, it is clear that
the effectiveness of IELTS in this regard is acknowledged by both
candidates and those who use and rely on the test alike,” Mr
IELTS calls for applications for its research
IELTS, the world’s most popular high stakes English language
test, is now accepting applications for 2011/2012 Research Grants.
Qualified individuals and education institutions can apply for
funding to undertake applied research projects in relation to IELTS
and English language testing. Selected papers are published in
IELTS Research Reports.
IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia
and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).
British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia contribute up to
AUD$36,000 / GBP£22,000 per research project, to a select number of
projects each year. A total of approximately AUD$215,000 /
GBP£130,000 is made available annually.
Applications must be submitted by 30 June 2011 with research to
commence by January 2012.
“Ongoing research has been a hallmark of the continuous
development of IELTS since its inception more than 20 years ago,”
said Tony Pollock, Chief Executive of IDP: IELTS Australia.
“Research projects undertaken as part of the IELTS joint-funded
research program have included subject areas such as applied
linguistics, language pedagogy and language assessment,” continued
John Gildea, Head of IELTS with the British Council.
“These studies complement internal research and validation
projects conducted or commissioned by Cambridge ESOL,” explained Dr
Mike Milanovic, Chief Executive of Cambridge ESOL. “Since
1995, more than 90 external studies by over 130 unique researchers
from around the world have received grants under this
jointly-funded scheme promoted by the IELTS partners.”
Volumes 1 to 11 of IELTS Research Reports are now available
online, free of charge. This page also provides links to other
IELTS publications such as Studies in Language Testing and CESOL
For more information about IELTS Research Grants can be found
University Grants Committee announces 2010/2011 IELTS
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The following is issued on behalf of the
University Grants Committee:
The University Grants Committee (UGC) has announced the results
of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) taken
by final year students of UGC-funded undergraduate degree
programmes under the 2010/11 Common English Proficiency Assessment
About 12,400 final year students, or about 68 per cent of all
full-time and part-time final year undergraduate students,
participated in the 2010/11 round of CEPAS. This represents an
increase of about 3 per cent in terms of the number of participants
as compared with last year, and is a record high.
The average overall score attained by the students is 6.69 on a
nine-point scale. About 84.8 per cent of the students attained a
score in the 6-7.5 range, which means they are "competent" or
"good" users of the English language in terms of the IELTS scoring
Among the four modules of the test, students did better in
"reading" and "listening", scoring overall 7.31 and 7.19
respectively. Their average scores in "writing" and "speaking" are
5.99 and 6.04 respectively. Institutions are encouraged to utilise
the CEPAS results with regard to their English language enhancement
strategies and programmes.
CEPAS is a voluntary assessment scheme intended to encourage
students to be more aware of the importance of English proficiency,
and to provide a common framework for assessing and documenting
graduating students' English proficiency. IELTS has been adopted by
the UGC as the main testing tool under CEPAS since 2002/03. Test
fees are reimbursed once if students agree to reflect their
participation in CEPAS in their transcript. The actual test score
however will not be shown.
An overall Band of 6.5 or above with no subtest score below Band
6 obtained in the same sitting in the Academic Module of IELTS
within the two-year validity period is accepted as equivalent to a
"Level 2" result in the Use of English paper in the Government's
Common Recruitment Examination.
Source: HKSAR Government
IELTS welcomes sentencing of offenders - 9 August
The IELTS partners today welcomed the sentencing of four
individuals convicted of offences related to conspiring to obtain
false IELTS scores at the Curtin English Language Centre (CELC) at
“The sentences handed down in the District Court of Western
Australia are clear demonstration of what IELTS has been saying for
some time – that any attempt to cheat or commit fraud at an IELTS
test will be identified and sanctions will be imposed,” John
Belleville, Director of IELTS for IELTS Australia said.
IELTS security systems originally detected the anomalous results at
CELC, leading IELTS to brief the findings to Curtin University for
immediate attention. The charges followed an extensive
investigation supported by IELTS that was led by the Corruption and
Crime Commission of Western Australia (CCC) due to the university’s
status as a public institution.
“As evidenced in this matter, IELTS has sophisticated security
procedures in place to protect legitimate test candidates and the
organisations that use IELTS results,” Mr Belleville continued.
Mr Belleville advised that investigations by the CCC into alleged
misconduct at Curtin University have concluded. “Importantly, as
part of this work, no instances of wrongdoing have been identified
at other test centres by either IELTS or the CCC,” he said.
“Given the high stakes involved, IELTS recognises the significant
responsibility we have to ensure that organisations are issued with
a result that reliably reflects a candidate’s English language
“Around the world, we work closely with relevant authorities,
including immigration and law enforcement agencies, to prevent,
identify and where appropriate prosecute any cheating or fraud
attempt in accordance with local jurisdictions.
“IELTS will continue vigorously pursuing instances of alleged
cheating or other fraudulent activity to protect the integrity of
the IELTS test and the interests of legitimate test candidates,” Mr
IELTS Shows Support for International Educators at
LOS ANGELES - IELTS is proud to support NAFSA: Association of
International Educators as Co-Sponsors of the Teacher Education
Colloquium “Challenging Bias and Building World-mindedness in
Teacher Education” and Platinum Sponsors of the Annual Conference
& Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia, May 31-June 3, 2011.
The Teacher Colloquium is a two-day series of lectures, sessions
and discussions that will address best practices in cross-cultural
teacher education programs, and develop new strategies to
internationalize curriculum and foster the development of teachers
with global perspectives. The Colloquium will take place Wednesday,
June 1, 12:30-5:00 pm and Thursday, June 2, 7:30 am-12:00 pm,
during the NAFSA Annual Conference.
The NAFSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for professionals
in international education and exchange, campus leaders, policy
experts, industry partners, experienced practitioners, students and
international colleagues to participate in more than 250 workshops,
sessions, seminars and networking opportunities. NAFSA expects
record-breaking attendance of more than 8,000 attendees in
“As NAFSA Global Advisors, we are pleased to support this key
annual event, engage with our colleagues in all aspects of
international education and learn from the thought leaders in our
field,” said Beryl E. Meiron, Executive Director, IELTS
This year’s NAFSA Conference will include an IELTS presentation
titled “Putting People First: IELTS Quality, Fairness and Service”,
which will include an international panel of IELTS representatives
discussing ways in which IELTS puts people first while achieving
high standards of English language test quality, fairness, and
customer service. The discussion will outline fundamentals and
current IELTS best practices in research, validity, and reliability
studies, and discuss test security measures and updates. The
presentation is scheduled Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2 at
3:45 pm at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
For more information and to speak with international
representatives from IELTS offices around the world, visit the
IELTS booth #901 at the NAFSA Conference at the Vancouver
Convention Centre next week.
Further details about NAFSA can be found at www.nafsa.org.
IELTS warns fraudsters - 31 May
Claims that a small number of IELTS candidates from China are
seeking to use imposters to sit their IELTS test in order to obtain
their desired result has met with a harsh warning from the IELTS
partners. IELTS warned test candidates that if they attempt
to present fraudulent identities to any IELTS test centre, they
will be identified and action will be taken, James Shipton,
Director of IELTS for China, said today.
Reports surface from time to time of fraudsters from mainland
China seeking to make money from students who will pay an
imposter. “Students who pay large sums of money are attracted
by exaggerated promises of IELTS results, yet they end up without
results and are no more advanced in the process of developing the
English language skills to ultimately succeed in a university or
workplace where English is used,” James Shipton said.
Most IELTS candidates study hard to improve their English
language skills, achieve the best possible result in their IELTS
test and then pursue education, immigration or professional
There will always be a small minority of people who seek to
attain results that they haven’t earned. IELTS test centres
are on constant alert to identify people presenting a false
identity before, during and after the test day.
“Cheating attempts are not widespread. However IELTS vigorously
pursues instances of alleged cheating or other fraudulent activity,
to protect the integrity of the IELTS test and the interests of
legitimate test candidates.
James Shipton warned those students tempted to pay money to
someone offering to be an imposter to be very mindful of the
consequences of such actions.
“Around the world, IELTS works closely with relevant
authorities, including immigration and law enforcement agencies, to
prevent, identify and report any fraud attempts. In China, for
example, IELTS issues life bans on any candidate identified as
attempting to present a fraudulent identity” confirmed James
With more than 20 years experience, the IELTS partners
continually evolve security systems and procedures in order to
ensure that multi-layered protocols address security risk across
all test stages. Given the sensitive nature of these
measures, they are not disclosed publicly in detail.
IELTS is the most popular high stakes English language test in
the world, recognised by 6,000 organisations in over 135
countries. In 2010, more than 1.5 million IELTS tests were