My English Placement Test: a Brief FAQ

Update May 2017! We’ve released Placement Test V2.0! Read all about this upgrade here!

Recently my team and I decided to develop an English Placement Test. Many of our users had asked for it as a natural extension of our Lesson Library.

One of the weaknesses of other online English Placement Tests…

…is the lack of transparency and the limited information provided to substantiate the level after completion of the test.
An English Placement Test might provide a result of B1. So what? As a teacher, where do you go from there? Which questions were answered by the student? Which questions were skipped by the student? How many questions were answered? What topics were tested? And what about a gap analysis? Without such information, an English placement test is rarely beneficial, except for the most experienced teacher.
Off2Class has now developed a free online English Placement Test for any teacher who wishes to assign it. The test is assigned, completed and submitted entirely online and the results of the Placement Test are available immediately after submission.
How do teachers use English Placement Tests?
Placement Tests are naturally designed more for the benefit of the teacher than for the student. An English Placement Test often provides a starting point for a teacher and student’s educational relationship, and it is especially usefuEnglish-Placement-Testl when a student returns to ESL studies after a break, in order to highlight the exact topics which require an initial review.
Our English Placement Test is designed to provide a Gap Analysis that highlights the student’s areas of weakness in English grammar. The Gap Analysis links the incorrect answers and unanswered question to the Off2Class Lesson Library, which forms a Learning Plan. For Off2Class subscribers, there is immediate access to the lesson plan which will assist to fill in the knowledge gaps.
The feedback about our Placement Test is overwhelmingly positive, but naturally we receive questions that require further explanation. Below are answers to the most common questions regarding our English Placement Test.

  1. My student and I don’t agree with the CEFR Proficiency Level provided by the test.

It is challenging to provide an answer that will satisfy everyone. However, this complaint appears more often if the student scores lower than expected. A couple of points are worth making here:

  • You can reassign the test at any time, and the student receives a new randomized set of 100 questions. Students can misread questions or hurry through the test. It is simple to reassign the test if required
  • Focus less on the CEFR Proficiency Level and more on the Gap Analysis. The Gap Analysis is where the teacher can see exactly how well a student has performed and it identifies each grammar topic for which the student supplied a wrong or no answer. In order to improve, a student needs to correct his or her mistakes.
  • Many students make fossilized errors. Be aware than many students may have studied topics at B2 level and yet provide entrenched mistakes that affect their overall score. Even if a student can use the future perfect simple correctly, this will not offset incorrect answers about the present simple or object pronouns.
  1. Why are there so many questions?

In the course of learning a language, a student will cover more than 100 grammar topics, often revisiting those topics at different levels of proficiency. To provide a more accurate Gap Analysis, we have designed a test that covers more than 105 grammar topics across CEFR levels A1 to C1.

  1. My student could not review his or her answers before submitting the responses.

This is a test of proficiency, not an opportunity for self-study. With a hundred questions, the student may encounter more than question on the same topic but at different proficiency levels. Hindsight is not a means by which to complete a proficiency test.

  1. My student said that the test stopped by itself and I can see answers for only a small sample of questions.

Any task that is too hard for a student become quickly demotivating. The test stops automatically if the student selects ‘I don’t know’ seven times consecutively.
If the student answered a minimum of 20 questions, the system will still provide a Proficiency Level and Gap Analysis. If the student answered less than 20 questions, it is not appropriate to provide an assessment of the student’s proficiency.

  1. I am a native speaker and I sat the test, yet I didn’t achieve 100%.

The English Placement Test examines a student’s abilities across a range of grammar-related questions. It is not designed for a native speaker. It is quite common for non-native speakers to understand grammatical terminology better than native speakers.
We worked hard to build this English Placement Test and we hope that you and your students find it beneficial.

English-Placement-TestAnd if you still have a question regarding the English Placement Test, post it in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you with an answer.

James Heywood
Co-founder, Off2Class


  • Sebastian Benn says:

    May 5, 2020 at 4:26 am

    If I share my student’s placement test with him, how much of the information will he see? For example, will he see which lessons are recommended?
    Many thanks.

    • Chris says:

      May 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, the student will see everything that you see!

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