They are developed by Pearson Language Assessments, a new business unit of the Pearson group which is dedicated to language testing and certification. Pearson administer the exams with Edexcel, one of the largest examining bodies of academic and vocational qualifications in the UK. Edexcel is a Pearson company. The exams are accredited by QCA, the Qualification and Curriculum Authority.
The London Tests of English are theme based exams designed to test how well a learner can communicate in authentic and realistic situations, and not on how well they remember formal vocabulary and structures. For this reason, the tests use real-life scenarios rather than grammatical exercises. They test the four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
There are six levels which are mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Framework was developed by the Council of Europe to enable language learners, teachers, universities or potential employers to compare and relate language qualifications by level
|CEFR level||London Tests of English||Exam time|
|C2 Proficient||Level 5||2h55|
|C1 Advanced||Level 4||2h30|
|B2 Upper Intermediate||Level 3||2h|
|B1 Intermediate||Level 2||1h35|
|A2 Elementary||Level 1||1h30|
|A1 Foundation||Level A1||1h15|
Reading, writing, listening and speaking are tested at all levels. The alignment of the London Tests of English to the CEFR has been established by mapping the test specifications to the CEFR descriptors. This mapping process was submitted to an external audit by University of Westminster. Work is in progress to further improve the robustness of the alignment on the basis of empirical data.
The London Tests of English were originally developed by the University of London Schools Examination Board in 1982. The Examination Board merged with Business & Technological Council (BTEC) in 1996 to become Edexcel, the largest examining body of academic and vocational in the UK.
London Tests of English were one of the first set of ESOL exams to apply the Notional-Functional Syllabus and Schema Theory to language testing. Schema Theory was developed by psychologists such as R.C.Anderson and Frederic Bartlett. Schemata are learned models suggesting relationships between objects and help structure future learning. (Schemata is the plural and schema is the singular form of this word.)
The London Test of English tasks are related through a common theme which allows candidates to activate the different domains of knowledge they have acquired and thus further enhance second language acquisition. It also provides a coherent thread for candidates to guide them through the various tasks.
The tasks can be interrelated through a common topic or a
scenario where the different tasks “build” a story and integrate
different language skills.
London Tests of English have been formally accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The QCA is the British regulatory body that monitors qualifications in schools, colleges and in the workplace.
The Tests are prepared and marked by teams of professionals and successful candidates receive a certificate of attainment from Edexcel. In some countries (Poland, Greece) the oral interview is assessed by locally trained assessors, whereas in other countries (France, Italy) they are entirely graded in London. The exams are taken in over 45 countries around the world.
Pearson have developed an online marking system, ePEN, and a web-based test centre service system, Edexcel Online, to provide rapid feedback on the individual performance of students in the exams.
Levels 4 and 5 of the London Tests of English are accepted for entrance to universities in the UK and by a variety of international companies. For full details of entry requirements for universities see the website.
Test sessions are offered in May, June, August, November and December. Again, interested parties should visit the website for actual session dates for individual countries.