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It is a measure of general English language oral proficiency, rather than being specifically geared to an academic or business context (e.g., for academic study in institutions of higher education in North America).
The Speaking Test is designed for in-country use, in environments in which English is not the primary language; therefore, its applications can be adapted to the specific purposes for which it is administered.
Rather than assessing examinees at one level of English language proficiency, it evaluates the skills of examinees at three different levels of competence which reflect varying degrees of skill acquisition.
Scores derived from the G-TELP Speaking Test provide a profile of diagnostic information that is formative rather than merely summative (providing only a total score that indicates where the examinee is at that point in time):
indicating what examines can do in speaking the English language by carrying out specific, well-defined tasks (functional ability) as well as applying what they know about it (e.g., vocabulary, grammatical ability);
identifying areas in which individuals or groups have demonstrated specific strengths and weaknesses toward which educational or other decisions might be directed; and
serving as a resource in the development and enhancement of curriculum, instruction, and learning.
The G-TELP is criterion-referenced; all other tests on the market are norm-referenced.
Assessments of proficiency are made in relation to universally accepted standards that describe the progressive acquisition of English language oral communication skills by whomever, and wherever, the language is being learned.
Because the acquisition of oral language skills is a developmental process, learners acquire these skills at different rates and with different degrees of proficiency which they demonstrate in specific tasks appropriate to the different levels.
Norm-referenced tests compare the learner's scores with the scores of other students who have taken a test that serves a particular purpose within a particular cultural or national context. These scores serve as general indicators of the level of language acquisition that has been achieved at a specific point in time, but provide very little useful additional diagnostic information.
In contrast, the G-TELP criteria are derived from experience regarding the acquisition of English language speaking skills by nonnative speakers regardless of any particular cultural context or specific testing purpose.