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Setting IELTS scores requirements for your institution

IELTS is accepted by organisations all over the world and each organisation sets its own minimum IELTS score requirements.

The appointment of a standards setting committee can be a very useful initiative when starting a review of the level of English proficiency required to be admitted to your educational institution or organisation.  

Within the standards setting committee you might include employer groups/registration bodies, teaching and learning staff, language experts, your institution’s policy makers and former students/graduates with IELTS experience. Once the committee is established, there are several useful steps the panel can work through to ensure band score requirements are chosen accurately. These steps are outlined at below.

  • Discuss the minimum level of Writing and Speaking proficiency required for the purpose of participating in academic study, training or skilled work as appropriate to the context.
  • Look at the detailed descriptors for Writing and Speaking competencies along the IELTS band scores scale (from 0 to 9) and compare these with the panel’s views on the minimum level of English required. These descriptors provide a series of ‘can do’ statements for the level of proficiency that each band score represents. Detailed band descriptors are available on the IELTS Scores Guide DVD. 
  • View the sample scripts of Writing and video clips of Speaking tests on the DVD to make judgement about the minimum level of language proficiency that is acceptable for people entering your study context. This will determine the panel’s recommendation for the minimum IELTS Writing and Speaking requirements.
  • Discuss the minimum level of Reading and Listening ability in English required for the purpose of participating in academic study as appropriate to your context.
  • Look over the sample test questions for Reading and Listening included on the DVD and also at www.ieltsessentials.com
  • Of these questions, how many would you expect your student with minimal language proficiency to answer correctly?
  • Use the DVD to convert the number of correct answers you’d expect from your student into an IELTS band score. This will give you minimum Reading and Listening requirement to suit your academic context.


Our IELTS Stakeholder Relations Team is also available to help guide your organisation through the process of standard setting. 

For more information, please email us.

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