Interview with IELTS Expert, Don Oliver from IDP

In the ninth segment of the interview, Don tells us about the factor that differentiates IELTS from other English proficiency tests, which is the Speaking Section that is conducted in a face-to-face setting. He further explains the importance of such setting.

9.The importance of IELTS’ Speaking Task

Interviewer: I think you already have answered this question, but what are some strengths of IELTS compared to other internationally recognized English proficiency test?

Don: I didn’t mention one important aspect and that is the Speaking Test, which is face-to-face. This does distinguish IELTS from some other tests, which are on a computer and our experience from talking to candidates is that this experience of a face-to-face test with another human being is, first of all, more valid because that’s the way human beings communicate first of all [laughs] and it also gives the candidate the opportunity to ask for clarification. Plus, the examiner can give the test-taker some time, as you would in a normal sort of interaction between human beings. If someone is having some trouble formulating an answer, then you can sit back and wait for them to formulate it. You might ask the question again, you might ask the question in different words. So, all of those sorts of features of normal conversation and human interaction are present in an IELTS Speaking Test, and they are not so present in many other tests.

Interviewer:  I think that’s a very, very important factor. When people think of tests, most of the time they think of paper and pen and simply getting the data inside their head and summarizing it. It’s not just that. It’s more of, as you mentioned, a fundamental interaction with the other person. That’s a very important aspect to address.

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
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←you’re here
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