Interview with IELTS Expert, Don Oliver from IDP

In the fifth segment of the interview, Don explains the factors that helped IELTS establish worldwide trust, such as the universal understanding of the IELTS scoring system and the emphasis on candidates’ ability to share their opinion.

5.The factors that helped IELTS establish its worldwide trust

Interviewer: Okay. We should move on to the next phase, which is the strengths of IELTS. Especially for this section, I made this question so that the readers will understand why it’s important to take the IELTS and why it’s beneficial. So, the very first question I would like to ask is this: More than a million test takers worldwide trust IELTS as a secure and accurate indicator of English communication. What are some factors that helped establish such worldwide trust? I think you mentioned that security is one major factor of this. Are there any other factors?

Don: Yes, there are! It’s over 3 million candidates now, per year, who take the test. IELTS is genuinely an international test, 140 different countries, 10,000 organizations throughout the world, including about three and a half thousand organizations in the United States. That means that if you have an IELTS score, you can use it for virtually any purpose. No matter what university and no matter what Immigration Department, no matter what professional organization, a lot of people who come to Australia, for example, overseas trained doctors or accountants, and they need to show that they can speak English and IELTS can do that for them as well. The other thing about IELTS is that, the international flavor of IELTS is that the scoring system, an IELTS six and IELTS seven is understood internationally. If you go to an employer in Denmark or in Brazil, they’ll understand what that means. So, the understanding of the assessment is very widespread. We talked about the security of the test, it’s the most rigorously secure test of them all, is what I would say. The fact that it’s a multi-level test, unlike tests like the Cambridge test or the EIKEN test for example. It’s a test that tries to cover all levels of English. It’s like TOEFL in that regard. So that anyone at any level can get a score from an IELTS test. And IELTS will give you a good indication of where you are on that scale. So, for all of those reasons, I think it’s a useful test. That, and the other reason, of course, is what we were talking about earlier, is that it does encourage someone to use English for communication. And so that’s the basic idea of IELTS. That is, “Are you able to express your feelings?” “Are you able to express an opinion?” “Are you able to use English for a whole range of different purposes?”

Interviewer: Yes, when you look at the Speaking Section of IELTS, it asks candidates “Why?” a lot. I think that’s one of the main characteristics of IELTS. Thank you for your answer!

About Don
1: Why did you become an IELTS Expert?
2: The tasks of an IELTS Expert
3: The tasks done for IDP
4: Teaching experience in Oman and Vietnam
5: The factors that helped IELTS establish its worldwide trust←you’re here
6: Test design process for IELTS
7: The linguistic studies and observations used for IELTS
8: About IELTS’ scoring system
9: The importance of IELTS’ Speaking Task
10: The drastic changes in the history of IELTS
About second language acquisition
11: Important factors for second language acquisition
12: Important factors for beginner-level learners of English
13: Important factors for mid-level learners of English
14: Important factors for advanced-level learners of English