Certifying English to Access Higher Education
The need for English language certification is nowhere more apparent than in higher education in Europe today. This chapter provides an overview of the three best known tests for academic purposes: TOEFL, IELTS, and the more recently developed Pearson Academic. It examines the structure and scope of the tests, and includes an analysis of the image which the boards project of them, as promoting mobility and guaranteeing success in the workplace. However, the tests are designed primarily to predict the abilities of test takers to interact in a native-speaker environment, in particular in the US, the UK and Australia. Today, we argue, there is an urgent need for examining boards to engage with the reality of non-native interaction, to reflect the real language needs which have emerged in academic contexts in Europe and beyond.