The website lists exam centres in the UK, explains what education, professional and immigration doors each exam can open, and most importantly provides a helpful tool to those who don’t know their IELTS from their TOEFL: a score converter wheel.
Its creator Tim Shoben, who is also the founder and director of London-based Islington English Centre for English, told The PIE that the idea for the website came about two years ago, after observing that sometimes the correspondence between the various exams was less than transparent for students and teachers alike.
“Over the years we have had the occasional person who’s come in saying ‘I have got a TOEIC score, a TOEFL, or a Pearson exam’ and we sort of scratched our head and thought ‘how does it compare?’’,” he explained.
“You don’t get much geekier than comparing 18 different sets of exams!”
“We understand IELTS, we understand the Cambridge Exams, but we didn’t understand a lot of the American ones.”
Shoben and his team researched the comparison tables between exam scores and Common European Framework for Languages levels on each exam board official website.
Then, using the CEFR as an “anchor,” they mapped the equivalence between each exam score.
“We thought it was going to be a quick project, but it turned into a long labour of love for what is a very geeky project,” Shoben said.
“You don’t get much geekier than writing about English language exams and comparing 18 different sets of exams!”
A new section with reviews of English language exam preparation textbooks written by teachers at the Islington Centre for English will be online soon to provide further guidance for students.
But the website, Shoben explained, is not just for students – schools, universities and businesses will find it useful to navigate the English certifications in use in different parts of the world as part of their international recruitment.