Is Your Language Test Environmentally Friendly?

Is Your Language Test Environmentally Friendly?

On April 22, 1970, the first ever Earth Day was held. Now, 30 years later, environmental consciousness is all around. Cities and towns put out public recycling bins, hybrid cars are on the market, and reusable water bottles are the latest fashion trend.

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is doing its part to “Make Every Day Earth Day” by eliminating paper from the English testing process. …

PTE Academic, launched in 2009, is an entirely paper-free test. Students fill out their registrations online, take the test on computers and receive and send their scores completely paper-free.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, there are a number of additional benefits to delivering a computer-based test.

As students become increasingly “digitally oriented,” they become more familiar with technology. Once a luxury for schoolwork, computers are now a required resource in many schools and classrooms. Research is conducted via the internet, books are read on handheld devices and communication often happens via text messaging. It is a natural expectation, then, that students would feel very comfortable taking a test on a computer.

Test questions designed for computer-based tests can be more varied and provide richer levels of data than is possible in a paper-based test. PTE Academic utilizes 20 different and innovative item types, frequently measuring more than one skill at a time in an integrated fashion. PTE Academic includes a number of questions that are commonly referred to as “production items.” In other words, these questions require a student to produce language, rather than simply memorize or recall correct answers.

In addition to providing a more authentic measurement of English ability, these test questions or tasks also reduce the chance that students can “crack” the test instead of actually demonstrating English language proficiency skills.

In addition, computer-based testing increases the speed at which the test can be delivered and scored. Test taker responses are quickly captured and can be transmitted and evaluated much faster than traditional paper-based tests. In fact, PTE Academic provides score results to students usually within five business days of taking the test. And online practice tests—which can accurately predict test performance for the high-stakes test—can be scored in about 20 minutes!

Finally, computer-based testing provides a number of security features over paper-based testing. Test forms can’t be stolen and distributed and test forms can be randomized so that no two test takers in the same test center are taking the same test form. And because official score results are delivered to institutions online through a secure online portal, students will students are not tempted to modify their results as has been known to happen with paper score reports.

And, of course, admissions departments around the globe will be very happy not to have to wade through stacks and stacks of paper to find the best candidates for acceptance! (Think of all the trees that are saved!)

This April, PTE Academic invites you to learn more about how you and your students can do your part to be environmentally-friendly by learning more about the test at

PTE Academic also invites language schools and intensive English programs to join its new PTE Academic Professional Partner Program. To learn more, visit us online at

For more information on Pearson plc’s environmental commitment, visit

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