Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, September 27, 2010

Transatlantic collaboration to boost opportunities for English language learners

A collaboration by departments of U-M and the University of Cambridge will give learners around the world greater access to high-quality, internationally recognized language qualifications.

Cambridge ESOL Examinations and the U-M English Language Institute Testing and Certification Division have joined forces in a new collaboration that will promote the U-M English language exams around the world. It also will work with stakeholders in different commercial and educational sectors, especially in the United States, to develop testing solutions precisely tailored to their needs.

Cambridge and U-M are teaming up at a time of rapid growth in the global market for English language tests, with enormous demand for high-quality assessment for education, business and migration. Both organizations emphasize the need for learners and institutions to be able to choose between a range of tests that exactly meet their needs, rather than generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions.

Michael Milanovic, chief executive officer of Cambridge ESOL, says, “There is enormous synergy between our two organizations. We are both university-based, not-for-profit exam boards, committed to high-quality assessment and to supporting research and learning, and we both have teams of highly qualified, committed and professional staff.”

“We are bringing together the highly talented and skilled testing divisions of two world-class universities with the global distribution network of Cambridge ESOL, opening up significant opportunities for growth,” says James Penner-Hahn, associate dean for budget at LSA. “We believe this will propel the use of University of Michigan tests to a much broader audience.”

A new entity — Cambridge-Michigan Language Assessments (CAMLA) — will deliver the collaboration, with a management board from both Michigan and Cambridge. Employees of the U-M testing division will continue as U-M employees under the new arrangements.

The scope of the collaboration will be to develop and promote the Michigan tests and new services. It will not affect the Cambridge ESOL exams or IELTS.

The U-M English Language Institute, established in 1941, was the first of its kind in the United States. Since its founding, the ELI has become a leader in language teaching, learning, and assessment, in applied linguistics research, and in teacher education at U-M and throughout the world.

Cambridge ESOL exams are taken by more than three million people every year in 130 countries and recognized by more than 11,000 universities, employers and government departments. They are backed by a world-leading program of academic and practical research and by quality management systems certified to international standards. Cambridge ESOL is a part of Cambridge Assessment, Europe’s largest assessment agency.