Evaluating the speaking ability of English language learners is a skill that requires experience and training
The UK government's announcement last month that all students from Pakistan will be interviewed by consular staff to assess their English-speaking skills before they are issued with visas to travel to Britain to study was presented as a necessary measure to weed out bogus applicants.
Little information is available about how the interviews will be conducted, or what training staff will be given, but the complexity and challenges of assessing learners' speaking and listening skills are well known to teachers.
International House (IH) London, one of the UK's leading English language course providers, enrols over 7,000 students annually and each one goes through an initial assessment process to find out their level. But even experienced teachers can make mistakes.
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