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US Designs New English Qualification Exam
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The United States will introduce a new and comprehensive exam for students who aspire to pursue studies in America and other English-speaking countries, Xinhua News Agency reported from New York.

The exam, which represents a significant change from the current English qualification test, was disclosed by Theresa Chang-whei Jen, associate director of the International Service of the US College Board, America's leading educational organization.

The Advanced Placement International English Language (APIEL) will be offered for the first time throughout the world on May 10, 2002, said Jen.

However, the APIEL is a strange title to most Chinese students, and it is unlikely to soon gain the easy familiarity of other already existing exams, such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

"I have never heard of such a test and I would prefer the IELTS if I need another exam," said Xu Jingyan, a graduating student from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who wants to study in England and has already taken the TOEFL.

Most of Xu's classmates have never heard of the APIEL.

"The APIEL is designed for international students who wish to pursue university studies in English-speaking countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia," said Jen.

Students are not the only target group of new English tests that are entering China.

The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade recently introduced the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

TOEIC, which is organized by America's Educational Testing Service (ETS), has been accepted by companies worldwide as a standard for recruiting international employees for more than 20 years.

The APIEL has been adopted, Jen said, because the TOEFL, can no longer accurately reflect the ability of students to use the English language comprehensively in an academic environment.

Xinhua reported that a fairly large number of foreign students who earned high scores in the TOEFL exam turned out to be mediocre educational performers after admission.

Compared with the TOEFL, the APIEL measures a student's ability to read, write, speak and understand English through testing his or her skills in listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking with accuracy and resourcefulness, and writing with clarity and fluency, Jen explained.

(China Daily December 10, 2001)

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