New research benchmarks international IB students’ language skills for universities

Posted on 8th Dec 2016 in International Baccalaureate, University Study

New research results provide universities with a useful benchmark to compare the level of English language competency of non-native English speakers, demonstrated by different International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) course grades, to levels on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR).

The study, conducted by the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC), provides a benchmark for universities across the world to assess international IB students’ English language acquisition.

Most international universities around the world have English proficiency requirements for incoming international students. Many universities accept scores in DP language courses as evidence of language skills and the research results enable universities to benchmark these requirements for the first time.

The results show that DP English language courses develop all four key language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with comprehensive assessment. All courses have at least one grade that can be considered comparable to CEFR B2, the level most commonly required for admissions by universities.

James Monk, Head of Diploma Programme Development at the International Baccalaureate, said: “This independent comparative study clearly demonstrates what we have believed for some time: students who are successful in their DP English course should not have to take further exams to prove their level of proficiency. Our English courses equip students with language skills that far exceed the CEFR level most commonly required for university admission.”

The CEFR is widely used in the development and referencing of language syllabi, qualifications, assessment and other learning materials, it is also used by universities to express English or other language proficiency requirements for admissions.