The English Proficiency Test Battery (EPTB) was developed by the University of Birmingham and the British Council as the first major standardized test for international students intending to study at universities in the United Kingdom named, and it was first taken two years later. The test focused on reading and listening skills with a set of three subtest: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and reading speed. The EPTB remained existed until 1980.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was developed during the 1980s and first administered to students in 1989.During the 1970s, researchers sought to improve English language testing by introducing more practical and relevant elements into standardized assessments. The IELTS had a four-module structure (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) in two versions (academic and general training) that has been the basis of the test ever since.The annual number of IELTS test-takers quickly surpassed the number of students who had taken the ELTS. By 1995, available worldwide, and about 43,000 students sat for the IELTS each year in 210 test centers.
The IELTS was substantially revised in 1995. The first change was the elimination of the field-specific writing and reading modules and their assimilation into a single module for each. Other important changes were administrative and structural. Scheduling the speaking assessment had been a significant challenge, but allowing students to take this portion of the test on a different day largely solved this problem. The reading and writing modules of the general training test were also aligned to those of the academic test in terms of timing and response length.
The speaking section was changed to include a smaller number of tasks, and examiner scripts and more specific scoring criteria were also integrated into the IELTS speaking paper. The assessment of the writing section was updated in 2005 to include four areas of evaluation (there were only three previously). Once a paper test only, the first computerized IELTS was offered in 2005. The IELTS Life Skills Test is a new version of the exam first administered in 2015. This greatly streamlined IELTS is a two-section assessment (speaking and listening only) that can be completed in a total of 16-22 minutes. And today, The IELTS is now taken by more than 2.5 million students in over 140 countries annually, making it one of the world’s most popular standardized assessments. It is available at over 1,100 test centers, and is widely accepted by universities and other organizations in all of the major English-speaking countries.