NGPT introduces listening component to our placement tests

Did you know that most placement tests don’t have a listening component?

Listening is one of the most important language skills and every CEFR level contains clear learning aims and outcomes related to this skill. Standardized language tests, such as Cambridge Assessment English or Language Cert all contain a listening component. In language schools, we all regularly test our students’ listening skills and do a number of listening exercises throughout the year. Therefore, it makes no sense that we do not assess listening when trying to determine students’ existing language competence and place them in appropriate groups.

NGPT aims to correct this issue by introducing listening component for all tested students. While classical use of language type questions will be used to pinpoint the approximate CEFR level of a test taker, listening will be used as final fine tuning in the process of assessment. At the same time, listening part of the test is probably the most difficult one to create. First of all, it requires developing unique and engaging content for every language and every level, a challenging task by itself. This content also needs to be suitable for creating subsequent questions for test takers, which need to be clear, relevant and unambiguous. Finally, the quality of audio needs to be flawless.

This last point is more important for testing purposes than one might think. If audio is not perfectly clear, we cannot know for sure whether a test taker made a mistake because of lack of knowledge, or simply because he/she misheard the content in the audio file. Therefore, all audio created for testing purposes needs to be of professional, studio quality.

Our partners from British School Pisa created our first audio content for NGPT and we have to admit that results are impressive. Their teachers Raffaella and Giampaolo spent several hours at a local studio La Tana del Lupo, where they were assisted by a professional audio team. The tracks were recorded with separate professional microphones and headphones with the addition of effects to enhance the clarity of their voices. The result….audio tracks that are without any background noise, the volumes of the voices are the same and they are very clear.

But don’t take our word for it – listen to the audio yourself and let us know what you think!