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New report shows how OET compares to international standard of language ability

A new report shows how the leading English language test for healthcare professionals compares to an international standard of language ability – making it easier to compare it with other qualifications.

The report, published today, shows how the Occupational English Test (OET) has been independently benchmarked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), an international standard for describing language ability. The CEFR was developed in the early 1990s and is an international standard for describing language ability. It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.

OET CEO Sujata Stead said this is good news for healthcare recruiters and individuals. She said: “Being able to see where OET scores sit on the CEFR will make life easier for candidates and healthcare recruiters. They will now be able to easily compare and understand English language levels of OET candidates. We are pleased to have received UK NARIC’s endorsement of OET as a highly valid and reliable test that can therefore be compared to the CEFR. This benchmarking exercise will also make it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing, whether a teacher or learner, to compare the level of OET with other English language qualifications.

The independent assessment was conducted by UK NARIC, the national agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide, and the summary report was released earlier this month.

OET is offered for 12 healthcare professions, of which the following four were submitted to UK NARIC for evaluation and referencing:

  • OET Medicine
  • OET Nursing
  • OET Pharmacy
  • OET Dentistry

All four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) were included in the review, and the following OET scores were recommended for comparability:

OET Results to August 2018 OET Score from September 2018 CEFR Band
A 450 – 500 C2
B 350 – 440 C1
C+ 300 – 340 B2
C 250 – 290
200 – 240

UK NARIC found that OET provides “an appropriate test of Occupational English in each of the relevant professions, with sufficient documentation and mechanisms in place to enable conclusions to be drawn on the comparable CEFR levels of the sub-tests in speaking, reading, listening and writing”.

Unlike other English language tests, OET test materials are based on real healthcare scenarios so educators and employers can be confident that successful candidates have the level of English communication skills required for safe and high-quality patient care.

Download the report.

Download this media release.