IELTS Writing and Speaking assessments are carried out by trained and certificated examiners, all of whom are qualified and experienced English language specialists. The examiners work to clearly defined criteria and are subject to extensive and detailed quality control procedures.
It is the responsibility of each IELTS test centre to recruit and train a pool of examiners. Centres recruit on a needs basis and consider applicants who meet the following requirements:
- An undergraduate degree or qualification(s) that can be demonstrated to be equivalent to an undergraduate degree
- A TEFL/TESOL qualification from a recognised institution
- Substantial relevant teaching experience, the majority of which must relate to adult students (16 years and over).
Applicants must then be approved by a qualified examiner trainer. After approval, the applicant undergoes face-to-face training conducted by an accredited IELTS trainer and then undertakes certification assessment.
The examiner system
The assessment of professional attributes and interpersonal skills of examiner applicants occurs at three stages in the recruitment process: application form, interview and training. All examiners must have the qualifications and experience outlined above.
Shortlisted applicants are interviewed and, if successful, complete an induction process.
Applicants who successfully complete induction proceed to training in Writing and Speaking assessment, which is carried out by an examiner trainer and lasts four days.
Applicants then complete a certification set to demonstrate that they can apply the assessment criteria accurately and reliably. If successful, they become certificated as examiners.
5. Year 1: monitoring
Examiners are monitored by examiner trainers up to four times a year and at least once every two years. New examiners (and those who have not recently worked as IELTS examiners) are monitored at least three times in their first year. All examiners receive written feedback on their rating and also on the delivery of the Speaking test. They may be required to take corrective action if any issues are raised about their performance.
6. Year 2: standardisation and recertification
Standardisation sessions are held every two years and are led by an examiner trainer. Standardisation is completed at the centre and takes place as close as possible to the 2-yearly recertification of the examiner. After the standardisation session, the examiners then complete a new certification set to demonstrate they can apply the assessment criteria accurately.