But, as any teacher knows, learners often have strengths or weaknesses in particular skills, and in some cases can achieve high levels in, for example, reading and writing, while not being able to speak or listen at a comparable level. Not to mention, language use is also fundamental to consolidate the four skills together.
For some purposes – highly specialized jobs, for example – these uneven skills may not matter very much. However, English is such an important skill in the global world, and needed in so many different contexts, that someone without a good ability in all four skills will greatly reduce the opportunities open to them in education and professional life.
Ability to use English in a variety of contexts involves multiple language skills and therefore testing the four skills plus language use enhances the accuracy of a test such as Global Language Training GEP International English Exams.
If we want to assess someone’s speaking ability, we must get them to speak. The same applies to all the other skills. We can’t infer ability in one skill (e.g. speaking) from performance in another (e.g. listening), or from using tests of language use, e.g. grammar, vocabulary, as proxies for communicative language ability. Therefore, if we want to accurately assess communicative language ability, we need to include tasks which elicit a wide range of skills related to communicative language.
The Common European Framework of Reference extends the definition of communicative language ability into four skills, as well as language use (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) Learners’ development in the four skills as well as in language use is often unbalanced and testing only some language skills may give an inaccurate picture. This is why Global Language Training GEP International English Exams include all four skills plus language use.
It is common for language abilities across the four skills to be interrelated. However, such relationships are not strong enough to allow measurement of one skill to substitute for another. Learners’ development of the four skills can be unbalanced, e.g. a learner could be strong in reading, but weak in listening or writing or speaking.
By testing all four skills plus language use, Global Language Training GEP International English Exams, encourage teachers and learners to take a balanced approach to language learning, ensuring that the learners develop the ability to use the language effectively in the real world.