|Support for the testing process|
Entry test to Russian programme
It was essential to develop a high quality English language entry test for the Russian programme. The limited resources available for both language and management training in Russia should be focused on those with a realistic chance of reaching the required level. This is difficult to control over such a wide geographical area.
A team of 10 Russian teachers were given training at Lancaster University, UK and continued assistance from the consultant Dianne Wall to develop such tests. The test was piloted and statistically analysed. It was accepted by the Federal Commission's Experts' Committee in December 1999 and is now in use throughout the Russian Federation.
The testing team have been monitoring the test administration and will continue to work on improving both the test itself and the systems for its administration.
It was also essential to identify a high quality test to international standards to select candidates for the placement overseas in countries where English will be the main language of communication.
The Federal Commission chose the BULATS (Business Language Testing System) exam for this purpose. This exam is produced by the internationally renowned examinations organisation UCLES (The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate).
ADVANTAGES OF THE BULATS TEST
Candidates who wish to receive a Presidential Diploma are obliged to take this test. Many participating countries (such as The British programme and the TACIS programme) require BULATS results as part of the selection process.
The recommended minimum levels for participation in an overseas placement are an overall score are: Level 3 (ideal) or Level 2.5 (acceptable).
However, every case is considered on its merits, and there may be some exceptions to these guidelines. Some host companies may also wish to look at the profile score and give greater importance to a particular skill.
Quality control of the testing system
As well as ensuring fairness and reliability in the selection of candidates, the dual testing system, on entry and exit from the training programme, enables evaluation of the effectiveness of individual institution's English language programmes. It will provide incentives for both individuals and institutions to seek genuine improvement in the area of English language learning in the knowledge that the testing system is comprehensive, and the externally moderated exit test provides a strong disincentive for institutions to relax the entry test requirements.
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