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Shaping English Language Assessments
with Research + Experience

CaMLA EPT

The CaMLA English Placement Test (EPT) is designed to quickly and reliably place ESL students into appropriate ability levels. It provides an accurate assessment of a test taker’s general language proficiency by measuring performance in the following key skill areas:

  • Listening comprehension
  • Grammatical knowledge
  • Vocabulary range
  • Reading comprehension

Teachers and program administrators will be able to confidently place ESL students into appropriate levels and classes based on a CaMLA EPT score. CaMLA EPT forms D, E, and F are parallel forms of the test.

Level: Beginning to Low-Advanced

Format

  • 80-item multiple-choice exam
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Three forms available: D, E, F
  • Scoring is by punched stencil (purchasers may use their own scannable answer sheets)

Content

The exam questions on the CaMLA EPT assess the following:

  • Listening comprehension of questions and conversations (audio recording included)
  • Grammar in conversational contexts
  • Selection of vocabulary to fit the context of single sentences
  • Reading comprehension of sentences and texts

How to Use the CaMLA EPT

The CaMLA EPT is designed for use as a placement test for incoming English language learners (ELLs). Teachers, program administrators, and supervisors can use CaMLA EPT scores to make informed decisions about learners’ ability levels based on their CaMLA EPT scores. These decisions may include placement into the appropriate class of an intensive English program (IEP), into a multilevel ESL program, and determining suitable work assignments in occupational settings where English language proficiency is required.

Test Questions and Format

There are 80 questions on all CaMLA EPT forms; 25 listening items, 20 grammar items, 20 vocabulary items, and 15 reading comprehension items. All questions on the EPT are multiple choice with three options for the listening section and four options for all other sections.

Each test form takes around 60 minutes for the test itself to be completed. Proctors need to allow additional time for administrative procedures (approximately 10 minutes to distribute and collect test materials and to read directions). All test directions are scripted and given in the administration manual.

Test Scoring

Purchasing institutions score the test. The test package contains reproducible answer sheets and a scoring stencil. The test can be scored quickly, easily, and at the convenience of the purchasing institution. It is possible to administer the test, calculate scores, and report them back to learners within one working day.

Placing Students

The EPT Administration Manual contains guidance on how to interpret CaMLA EPT scores. CaMLA EPT scores can be used to place learners into at least six distinct levels and the manual provides specific cut points as reference for first time users of the EPT. It is very important that users determine final cut scores within their own institution but the administration manual does provide clear guidance in this respect.

Users may also consult the “Linking the Common European Framework of Reference and the CaMLA English Placement Test: Technical Report” on the CaMLA website to see how scores on the EPT correspond to levels of the CEFR.

Transitioning From Older Test Versions

If your program still uses the old University of Michigan EPT, there is a table that shows how scores on the CaMLA EPT correspond to scores on the 100-item University of Michigan EPT in the EPT Administration Manual. This makes it easy for programs to transition from the older version to the new test.

Proven Results and Effectiveness

The CaMLA EPT was extensively pretested with English language learners at many different levels of proficiency, from many different first-language backgrounds, and in many different contexts. This pretesting phase—after which any poorly performing items were discarded—can make users confident that the CaMLA EPT will successfully discriminate between students at different levels of language proficiency regardless of their language background or current ability level. Please refer to the CaMLA EPT Development Report (Will need to link to this in research once that’s ready).

Using Parallel Test Forms

The CaMLA EPT has three test forms that are parallel forms of the test. Each of these forms has unique content; there are no shared items across them. However, the three test forms have been set at the same level of difficulty. Parallel test forms help users maintain test security as the different forms may be used at random, while maintaining the same level of measurement and score meaning across administrations.

How are the CaMLA EPT and the MTELP Series different?

The two tests have different intended uses. The CaMLA EPT should be used to stream ESL learners into similar ability groups. The CaMLA EPT is designed to be used with learners whose proficiency level is unknown and will efficiently place these learners into level-appropriate classes.

The MTELP Series is designed for use after a period of instruction with learners whose approximate proficiency level has been determined. The test items on the MTELP Series forms are level appropriate. That means that all the test content on a test form of the MTELP Series is targeted at beginner, intermediate, or advanced learners depending on the level used. So, the CaMLA EPT test forms contain test items across a broad range of proficiency levels while the MTELP Series test forms contain test items at a focused level.

Based on a learner’s CaMLA EPT score, an institution can predict the appropriate level of the MTELP Series to use and approximately what score to expect.

A very efficient measure of incoming learners’ ESL proficiency, aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

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