Repository logo

International assessment through the medium of English: analysing the language skills required

Published version

Change log


Shaw, Stuart 


English is the medium of instruction and assessment for Cambridge Assessment International Education programmes of learning and summative assessment. Cambridge International programmes are increasingly offered in a variety of educational and bilingual contexts, and for many international students English is an additional language - their second language, or perhaps their third language. The Cambridge International context raises a number of issues relating to language awareness (e.g., progression from basic interpersonal communication skills to cognitive academic language proficiency) and assessment (e.g., the level of English needed to access and succeed in international assessments). The focus of the study is the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). The study adopts a two-phase methodology and involves an analysis of language use in Geography, History and Biology in order to (a) build a 'profile' of the language skills required and evidenced by IGCSEs and (b) determine whether any identifiable linguistic patterns adhere to different content, non-language IGCSEs. The level of English language proficiency required for accessing and succeeding in IGCSE is tentatively mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).



Evaluation of assessment

Journal Title

Research Matters

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL