News for International Educators across Canada - January 2021
Looking into the 2021 crystal ball


It’s a new year and normally we might make some predictions for the coming months. However, all bets are off until we see if the pandemic eases.

In the meantime, this is a reminder that our Virtual Homestay Professional Development Workshop is next month. If you have homestay staff at your institution, please be sure to invite them to attend.

We're hoping to run our annual Risk Management workshop in Toronto in the fall and do it in-person. Of course, it depends on whether it is safe to do so. Stay tuned!

We are going to predict that the advent of in-home English language testing will facilitate post-pandemic international recruitment by Canadian educational institutions. See our feature article below.

The light is at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, stay safe!

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At-home English testing will help
post-pandemic recruitment

The pandemic has had a big impact on the international education sector. While it's been mostly negative, one positive change is the advent of at-home English testing for admissions. And it looks like testing companies will continue to offer this service post-pandemic – which could help Canadian educational institutions to recruit more students in the coming years.

Pre-covid, students would have to book a test months in advance and travel to the nearest testing centre. If the journey was long, they might have to pay for a hotel the night before the test. It would cost hundreds of dollars just to take the test once. If the student did not achieve the required score, they would have to repeat the process again and again.

Once the pandemic started and test centres were forced to close, assessment companies had to adapt. Leveraging available technology to monitor test-takers, they began letting candidates take tests at home.
“More than 250,000 people in 170 countries have registered to take the TOEFL iBT Home Edition since its launch last March,” Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL program, told The International Education Times.

Educational Testing Service is using a combination of live online proctors and technology tools to monitor TOEFL tests and ensure security.

“Our at-home tests are here to stay,” Gopal said. “In a post-Covid world, we’ll continue to offer this test so that students have as many testing options as possible.”

At-home testing has proven to be a boon for smaller testing companies like iTEP. Previously, iTEP had test centres in 61 countries; now it can provide service to students in every nation in the world.

“The fact that iTEP tests are not fixed format – but unique content – greatly cuts down on the risk of cheating because the questions are not the same on each test,” says Jim Brosam, President, of iTEP International. iTEP uses technology to monitor students and its graders review each test for red flags.

The world English-testing leader IELTS, which delivers three million tests annually, is taking a more restricted approach. It is only offering its at-home IELTS Indicator test in countries where test centres are closed. In Canada, test centres have re-opened and students can no longer take the IELTS online.

For TOEFL and iTEP, at-home testing could be an advantage in their fight to compete against IELTS. The key will be ensuring security so that educational institutions can be confident that a test score is a valid measure of a student’s English ability. We’ll see what happens post-pandemic.

For Canadian educational institutions, at-home testing will be a boon. Online recruiting tools already allow them to reach students anywhere in the world. Now at-home testing will permit those students to inexpensively meet the English requirement. They could begin their international education journey in a matter of weeks rather than months or years.

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