Two of the biggest names in English as a Section Language assessment and certification have joined forces. Cambridge ESOL, of the University of Cambridge and the provider of the well-known Cambridge English exams, proudly announced the joint operation, Cambridge-Michigan Language Assessments (or CAMLA), on September 24th 2010. The CAMLA will be established to foster collaboration between the two universities and was primarily formed in order to order to promote the University of Michigan’s English language exams and aid in the development of new program. The partnership formally ties the oldest ESL program in the United States to the 800-year old college but as yet will not affect the existing Cambridge ESOL exams or IELTS which are taken by over 3 million people annually in 130 countries around the world.
The collaboration, although noteworthy, comes as little surprise to industry insiders. Because a good knowledge of the English language has taken on an important role in so many aspects of today’s increasingly global society, the demand for high-quality assessment for education has skyrocketed. This is a period of rapid growth for English proficiency exams all around world. Both organizations emphasize the need for learners and organizations alike to be able to choose between a range of tests that exactly meet their needs. This viewpoint has been amply reflected by proliferation in exam types offered by both organizations. The ELI, originally purveyors of only the ECPE exam, have expanded their offerings to include the intermediate-level ECCE and still-more advanced MELAB exams in roughly the same period that offering from Cambridge ESOL grew in the early 1990s. Thus a partnership between the two is a natural fit. Though the program will be headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it will make available the knowledge and experience gained from millions of test takers worldwide in order to offer new and improved services for its consumers.