The General Test of English Language Proficiency assess English Language Proficiency
at five different levels of functional ability

G-TELP assesses English language proficiency at five different levels of functional ability.

The test administrator selects a test that is suitable for the student or group of examinees. The G-TELP descriptors for each level of proficiency provide guidance in matching the test level with the examinees.

The level that is selected should neither be too difficult nor too easy for the examinee. The test administrator and score user should take certain factors into account when selecting the test level, based on knowledge of the examinee's past experience:

The minimal (lowest) level of proficiency the examinee is expected to demonstrate

The situations, tasks, and skills to which the examinee has been exposed

The length of time and depth of the examinee's instruction in English (e.g., proficiency at Level Three, Modified English in Simple Communication, presumes that a person has completed five to six years of English language instruction)

A comparison of the skills, situations, and tasks (descriptors) across the five levels will give the test administrator / score user a sense of the order in which these features of proficiency are acquired over time. For example, learners begin language acquisition by using simple verb tenses, then gradually use future tenses, and, after considerable exposure and practice, effectively use the present and past unreal conditional tenses. The G-TELP presumes prior exposure to formal English language instruction. However, because the test assesses communicative skills in task-oriented situations, it also yields information about general English proficiency that is not specific to academic contexts.

Furthermore, the selection of test level depends on the purpose of the assessment.

Frequently, for the formative purpose of diagnosing strengths and weaknesses, the test user is interested in determining examinees' degrees of proficiency, and will expect a spread of scores. Thus, when the appropriate level of the test is used, many examinees will demonstrate near-mastery, a few will demonstrate complete mastery, and a few will demonstrate no-mastery of the English language.