The University of Heidelberg is once again playing host to an international conference. The College Board (New York), which coordinates the admission tests for American universities, has invited the directors of the admission centres and English language programmes of major universities in America, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom to participate in a conference acquainting them with the Advanced Placement International English Language test (APIEL), which has proved its worth in Germany and other European countries.
Given the significance of English and the increasing mobility of young people in Europe and the world, the test was developed in the mid-nineties by the College Board in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service (Princeton) and experts from Europe and North America. The initial proposal to do so came from Germany. The test was first implemented in 1997 in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and two regions in France.
By 2000, 12 other German states had followed suit and in that year over 5,000 young people sat the test. In 2001 this figure has risen to 7,000 and the pass ratio is over 80%. Other countries now participating are Austria, Belgium, India and Switzerland, with China, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey also due to join in.
APIEL provides young people with an opportunity to test their skill in English against an international standard and qualifies them to attend courses at English-speaking universities without taking the customary language aptitude tests. It is also an asset in applying for jobs or for courses held in English at institutes of higher education in Germany.
The Central Education Office (Karlsruhe) is the body organising the test in Baden-Württemberg. Its experience with the test suggests that interested and motivated students have no difficulty in passing the test on the basis of the knowledge of English acquired at German schools. The high pass ratio testifies to the excellence of foreign-language teaching at German schools.
The test covers listening comprehension, reading, writing and oral competence. It can be taken while still at school or when embarking on a course of study in higher education and requires neither special preparatory courses nor expensive material. The test is usually taken at the schools in the various regions. Correction and evaluation is done centrally in the United States by an international committee of secondary school and university teachers.
Please address any inquiries to:
Oberschulamt (Central Education Office) Karlsruhe
phone: 0721/9264484 or 9264401
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317