The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (or ECCE exam) was first developed in 1992 and first administered on a trial basis to 375 students in Athens, Greece, in May 1993. Since it was first formally offered in Greece in 1994 and expanded into other regions of the world the following year, its administrators at the University of Michigan have nevertheless continued to use their expertise to update and revise the exam. As a result of their work, the exam has some seen some significant structural changes in recent years.
In 2006, for example, The University of Michigan unveiled a new rubric used in grading the Speaking and Writing sections of the ECCE exam. Where the assessment rubrics for these sections were subdivided into four benchmark levels the administrators now used five. That means that instead of dividing results into one of four levels of proficiency, examiners now have five. These new scales, in being further distinguished and clarified from one another, were designated to more precisely and accurately reflect the features of communication that candidates are expected to use.
Although the rubrics used to measure the tasks changed, the speaking and writing tasks remained unchanged and the aggregate (or combined average) scoring method employed by the ECCE remained the same. Thus, while students who do not pass one section of can still pass if their scores on the remaining sections are of a sufficiently high level, students who fail two or more sections cannot pass the exam. In so doing, the ECCE exam hopes to maintain its reputation for excellent in English proficiency assessments.