History of IELTS
IELTS test takers and the organizations which rely on IELTS test results benefit from IELTS ' continuing investment in quality assurance, research and development to ensure that the test remains robust and relevant.
International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials and we invest in ongoing research to ensure that IELTS remains fair and unbiased – wherever and whenever the test is taken – and that IELTS encourages, reflects and respects international diversity and is fair to anyone who sits the test, regardless of nationality, background, gender or lifestyle.
The rigorous processes used to produce the test materials ensure that every version of the test is of a comparable level of difficulty, so that candidates’ results are consistent wherever and whenever they take the test.
These and the other benefits of IELTS today build on our history of English language testing over many decades.
The beginning
The English Language Testing Service (ELTS), as it was then known, made its first appearance in 1980 when it replaced the English Proficiency Test Battery (EPTB), a traditional largely multiple choice test battery that had been used by the British Council in its overseas student recruitment operation since the mid 1960s for the purpose of screening international applicants to universities and colleges in the UK. The new test had an innovative format that reflected changes in language learning and teaching theory and developments in language testing. In particular, the ELTS was influenced by the growth in ‘communicative’ language learning and ‘English for specific purposes’. Test tasks were based on an analysis of the ways in which language was used in academic contexts and were intended to reflect the use of language in the ‘real world’. Test format
The ELTS test offered a choice of six modules covering five broad areas of study of UK tertiary education, plus one non-specific area. The six modules were:
Life Sciences
Social



References: Alderson, J C and Clapham, C (eds) (1993) Examining the ELTS Test: An Account of the First Stage of the ELTS Revision Project – Research Report 2. The British Council/University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.  Criper, C and Davies, A (1988) ELTS Validation Project Report: Research Report 1(i). The British Council/University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.  Charge, N and Taylor, L (1997) 'Recent developments in IELTS ', English Language Teaching Journal, 51/4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Clapham, C (1996) 'The development of IELTS: a study of the effect of background knowledge on reading comprehension ', Studies in Language Testing, volume 4. Cambridge: LES/Cambridge University Press.  Clapham, C and Alderson, J C (1997) Constructing and Trialling the IELTS Test - Research Report 3.  Davies, A (2008) Assessing Academic English: Testing English Proficiency, 1950–1989 — the IELTS solution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Hughes, A, Porter, D and Weir, C (1988) ELTS Validation Project Report: Proceedings of a conference held to consider the ELTS Validation Project Report - Research Report 1(iii). The British Council/University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

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