At its heart a research university, over the course of its five decades in operation the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute has continually tried to improve its Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (or ECPE exam). While its last major revision took place in 2009, its collaboration with Cambridge ESOL has led to further refinement of the exam’s structure, format, and assessment. Scheduled to be released for the 2013 exam cycle, the newly revised ECPE will still be calibrated to certify a C2 (Mastery) level of the Common European Framework of Reference with its “Can Do” statements. It will feature changes to a number of the existing sections and their components, prominent among these are the following:
- Listening section, which will now offer a test booklet that will provide a written transcription of some questions that were previously asked only orally;
- Writing section, which will remain unchanged in content but will be evaluated using a new 5-point writing scale;
- Speaking section, which will feature an entirely new format to be released later,
- Reading section, whose existing cloze passage of 1 section with 20 questions will be changed to two sections of shorter, independent, cloze passages of 10 questions each.
Moreover, the current option to take a pretest (ECPE Preliminary Exam) immediately prior to the ECPE Final exam will be discontinued. The last ECPE Preliminary Test will be issued in April 2012, to be replaced with the ECPE practice materials packet. The first practice materials packet will be made available for purchase in March 2013 but given the extent of these changes, updated sample versions of the ECPE test format will be made available online to teachers and test takers as early as January 2012.