University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Copenhagen's English test now at French universities

Language unit at the Faculty of Humanities successfully commercialises its language test. Nantes is the first buyer

There is a market for English tests. And the University of Copenhagen is now in on it.

The language training and research centre of the University of Copenhagen has now commercialised their English oral language certification procedure, TOEPAS®. A consortium of universities organized by the University of Nantes is the buyer, and other universities are queuing up to buy, too.

“We are providing a service to universities in a time of globalisation and internationalisation of education,” says Joyce Kling, a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel language Use (CIP).

No real competition

In 2009, CIP designed the certification test for university lecturers that do not have English as their mother tongue. At the University of Copenhagen, the TOEPAS® has assessed 400 lecturers. But now CIP’s TOEPAS® certification procedure is about to be licensed on to other universities.

“There are a few universities that experiment with their own local tests, but their validation procedures have not been publically documented. We stand out in the field because we have published evidence of TOEPAS® validation,” she adds to the University Post.

TOEPAS® stands for The Test of Oral English Proficiency for Academic Staff and the procedure emphasises feedback and the development of language skills.

International interest

The lecturers who take the test not only receive written and oral feedback, but access to video recordings of their performances. This lets them keep improving their oral English skills and gives management a tool to monitor what areas require further support.

Nantes is the hub of a consortium of universities in western France that will have their examiners trained by UCPH. “Université de Nantes now has a one year contract to use the test, which can be extended if they wish. We at the University of Copenhagen train the raters, and they get the right to use the TOEPAS®,” explains Joyce Kling.

A number of other universities have expressed interest in the certification program, including universities in Spain and Austria.

Helps lecturers to do their job better

Danes are believed to be among the best non-native English speakers of English in the world, and Danish universities have had English-medium instruction programs for a number of years. This makes Copenhagen the obvious starting point for a non-native English proficiency test.

“At a conference, we were approached by Université de Nantes staff who were very interested in our certification method. From the autumn semester 2015, the university in Nantes will serve as a TOEPAS® testing centre for Western France, and our job here at CIP will be to provide Nantes staff with feedback as they rate the French lecturers,” says associate professor Slobodanka Dimova from CIP.

“What is good about TOEPAS® is that it incorporates feedback,” says Slobodanka Dimova. “We developed the TOEPAS® as a diagnostic tool. People don’t just get a pass/fail. We give people extensive feedback based on their level. They can then use this feedback to raise awareness of their language needs and get access to appropriate resources.”

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