IELTS and IESOL as English Proficiency Assessment Methods for Native Arab Students in a Health Sciences University in the United Arab Emirates


This study compares the performance of Arab students in the IELTS and IESOL English proficiency tests. It aims at evaluating the performance of Arabs in both tests to perceive which test suits the Arab students to be able to achieve a higher score and join universities. These tests have become a major obstacle for many Arabs who cannot start their higher education without achieving a certain score required by the universities. In the U.A.E. The students are required to achieve a minimum band score of 5 in IELTS in order to join universities. Many of them may drop higher education because of the inability to score. The study was conducted in RAK Medical and Health Sciences University in The United Arab Emirates. The participants were a group of Arab students exposed to both tests. The results were compared and analyzed to examine which test resulted in a better performance. The results showed that students scored better in IESOL than IELTS. In IESOL they were able to achieve the B2 level required whereas in the IELTS none of them was able to reach that level. The maximum score reached was 4.5 which is equal to medium B1 level.

Keywords: Arab Students, English language learners (ELLs), English proficiency tests (EPTs), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), International English to Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL), non-native English speakers (NNES)

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 16-32 (Download PDF)

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