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New Language Skills Assessments


A scheme to help people of all ages get recognition for language skills has been announced by the Government.

The National Recognition Scheme, otherwise known as the Language Ladder, will offer an alternative route for language learners to have their skills recognised.

The Department for Education and Skills has commissioned the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) to develop an assessment scheme that will enable people of all ages, from seven-year-olds to adults, to get credit for their language skills.

People who choose to take part will be assessed on listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in their chosen language.

They will get recognition at a number of stages depending on their ability, ranging from ‘breakthrough’ to ‘mastery’.

Pilot schemes will operate in a range of locations, yet to be decided.

They will take place across all stages of education – primary, secondary, further, higher, and adult education – from September 2004 in French, German and Spanish.

The scheme will then become available nationally in 2005.

Following the pilot schemes, the Language Ladder will be extended to cover a further five languages: Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Punjabi and Urdu.

The following year, a further 13 languages will be added: Arabic, Bengali, Gaelic/Irish, Gujerati, Hindi, Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Swedish, Turkish and Welsh.


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