Thursday, November 29, 2007

ESL Website Deception?

I referred to an ESL site yesterday that has games. After trying to figure out the Magic Gopher game, I explored the site a little more. On the front page of, there's a "Test Your Level" section. It tests ESL speakers on grammar and vocabulary, etc.

I took a couple of the tests and I know I got everything right (they were simple tests for native English speakers). Interestingly, for every test I took, my result showed that I'm at an "upper intermediate" level. Well, I know that everything was right. They don't let you go back and check your answers; you just have to keep taking more tests to see how you do.

I thought it's a bit unfair to test ESL speakers and then give them results that show that they are at a lower level than they truly are. The results page tells you to practice your grammar by looking at the materials on the website. I just think it's not very honest to give you inaccurate results just to get you to look further into their site.

Aside from that, some of the materials are good. It's a British English site, so be careful if you're trying to learn/teach American English.



Ibrahim Mohamed said...

This is a good way for them to get into business. It's interesting to learn that even native speakers sometimes can be classified as upper intermediate sometimes. I am setting up a website at to give tests for free. It has not got anything on it yet but I will start uploading my material for listening and reading in addition to taking quizes online. The software I got is from I am sure the software is configured to give a correct feedback to students' answers.

Ibrahim Mohamed
Melbourne, Australia

Anonymous said...

You cannot conclude that the website deceives you just because it says you are upper-intermediate. It strikes me as odd that you say you are an ESL tutor but you do not understand that tests are designed for certain levels. If you complete a test for beginners with 100% accuracy, then you are still a beginner because the test is designed to test beginners! It makes no sense at all to claim that you teach English or that you are a native speaker. If you want to be "classified" as advanced, very advanced, extremely advanced or something like that, go and do tests of the right level at the right website, not, which is intended for lower-level students!