Biometric systems further tighten IELTS test security

The IELTS test partners announce that biometric systems to verify the identity of test takers have been implemented globally.

Long recognised as a secure, high-stakes test, the IELTS security protocols now incorporate finger scans in jurisdictions where this is permitted, along with high resolution photography. The high resolution photograph captured for each test taker appears on their Test Report Form (TRF).

Developed by the IELTS partners in consultation with security experts, these biometric measures are specifically designed to fit the purpose of high-stakes language testing. Governments accepting IELTS test results have welcomed the measures and positive feedback has also been received from test takers themselves, who appreciate the time that is saved by the use of finger scanning technology to enter test rooms on test day.

“The IELTS approach to test security is proactive. Our tailor-made biometric systems are in use from the test taker’s arrival on test day right through to completion of their test. Admissions staff can access the IELTS verification service website to see for themselves the high resolution photograph we capture of each person who presented for the test,” says John Belleville, IELTS Director at IDP IELTS.

John Gildea, Head of IELTS at the British Council, says, “All necessary steps have been taken to comply with privacy laws and the framework of each local jurisdiction. IELTS is available in more than 900 locations across 130 countries, so the British Council and IDP IELTS have taken a deliberate and respectful approach to implementing these new biometric measures in a manner that is in keeping with the integrity of the IELTS test.”

IELTS test results are trusted by more than 8,000 education institutions, governments, professional registration bodies and employers around the globe to provide accurate and reliable measurement of English language proficiency.

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration. 8,000 organisations recognise IELTS as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true to life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

British Council is the UK's international organisation for education and cultural relations. Dedicated to building trust through the exchange of knowledge between people worldwide, the British Council is represented in more than 100 countries.

IDP: IELTS Australia is a subsidiary of IDP Education – owned by the 38 Australian public universities and SEEK Ltd. IDP Education is a world leader in helping overseas students study at institutions in Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. IDP Education has more than 40 years’ experience in international higher education, placing more than 400,000 students.

Cambridge Assessment English is the world's leading provider of exams for learners of English. Each year the exams are taken by more than four million people, in over 130 countries.

About the test

  • Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All tests are scored on a banded system from 1 (the lowest) through to 9 (the highest possible band score)
  • IELTS offers a choice of two versions, to serve both academic and non-academic purposes
  • IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to all test takers, irrespective of their subject focus
  • IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. The General Training version is suitable for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom

A sample of government and professional registration bodies who recognise or require applicants to hold an IELTS test report form include:

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
  • UK Border Agency (UKBA)
  • New Zealand Immigration Service
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) – USA
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • General Medical Council (GMC) – UK
  • International Monetary Fund