Alpha English Placement Test Description

The Alpha English Placement Test is closely based on the Nelson Quickcheck Placement Tests. It has generally been used for base-line language assessment of company employees in order to benchmark their general language level against an established external reference (the ALTE and CEF levels). The testing cycle should require no more than 60 minutes and does not require any specialist testers to administer it. The original test items have been trialled and pretested on more than 500 testees and benchmarked using standard correlation statistical methods to IELTS and Cambridge tests. This gives some assurance regarding level benchmarks. In addition, the test assures a wide spread of scores from Beginner to Advanced levels.

Description: The Alpha English Placement Test consists of four parts of equal difficulty. Each part contains four sections of 25 reading, grammatical & lexical items. Each section is in ascending difficulty. The questions are not ranked in order of difficulty in the paper test. It is important for test users to understand quite clearly that the Alpha English Placement Test is only indirect test. It makes no statements about what the testees can do in terms of language performance. However, they do provide a robust means of establishing the most probable level of language performance needed for purposes of initial language assessment. The Test is in multiple-choice format and consists of items measuring the recognition of correct responses to reading prompts, grammatical forms and lexical choices in context. All items have been extensively pre-tested with students from a variety of first-language backgrounds.The Alpha English Placement Test will indicate accurately the general language level of testees, but doesn’t enable statements to be made about individual skills (Reading, Writing, Listening or Speaking).

Purpose: The Alpha English Placement Test is designed for rapid placement testing, where we are interested not in testees’ Speaking or Writing skills for placement purposes, but in whether testees are able to understand a native speaker and have an adequate level of lexis, and whether they can handle written sentence patterns and structures with a degree of automaticity.

Each question and section is designed to work as one measuring instrument. A benchmark calculation was carried out on this basis and the test will lose reliability if changes are made. The items in each of the four tests were carefully selected and adapted from the ten levels of the Nelson English Language Tests battery. The latter ranges from Beginner level up to Certificate of Proficiency level.