FOCUS – objective and convenient foreign language proficiency testing tool

Are you starting a new job and a potential employer wants a formal assessment of your foreign language knowledge and practical skills? Are you an employer interested in the quality of a new employee’s foreign language skills, the level of which would be confirmed by a special certificate? Or maybe you want to know your knowledge and skills in a foreign language to assess your competitiveness? Skrivanek Training Centre has developed a special system called FOCUS, which will help employers, job seekers and the general public to determine the level of foreign language knowledge and practical skills in a convenient and handy way.

About FOCUS – objective and convenient foreign language proficiency testing tool

FOCUS is an online foreign language proficiency testing tool, a comprehensive knowledge and skills testing system that accurately calculates and objectively assesses proficiency level according to the European Council’s Common European Framework of Reference for Language Skills A1 to C1, based on user-provided answers.

FOCUS consists of two parts – a written part, during which the user works on theoretical questions, and a practical skills test, during which the user demonstrates practical skills by completing a writing task and a speaking task.

The written part of the FOCUS system includes grammar and vocabulary exercises, as well as a reading comprehension test. In each of these parts – grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension – the questions and examples are designed with increasing levels of difficulty. In addition, each part has a time limit for the submission of answers. This provides an objective measure of how many of these tasks of increasing difficulty a user can complete in a given period of time and at what point the questions become too difficult and the part of the test is stopped. Accordingly, the answers are summarised according to the number and correctness of the answers submitted, using a specially designed point scale, and the proficiency level is calculated according to the Common European Framework of Reference Levels A1 to C1.

We have also ensured that FOCUS is an effective and comprehensive language proficiency testing system that goes beyond a theoretical grammar and vocabulary test and provides insights into language knowledge and practical skills that are, where possible, adapted to real-life contexts. FOCUS also assesses a candidate’s active writing and speaking skills, which is why the practical skills test is an integral part of the testing system.

In the writing part, the user performs a writing task, such as writing an e-mail or writing a reply to a client’s request. It should be noted that the writing task does not necessarily require knowledge of a specific industry, as the content and topics cover general situations that we encounter in our daily lives at work, at home, when travelling or socialising. Also, the time limit should be taken into account when completing the practical task in the written part. To help users of the FOCUS foreign language proficiency testing tool to complete this creative part with good results, we have provided each FOCUS user with a small “ABC’ of help, which outlines the most important assessment criteria, such as vocabulary variety, spelling and linguistic accuracy, compliance of the text content with the rules, form of the text according to the situation and task rules, appropriate linguistic style. For example, if the task is to write a formal e-mail, the appropriate style in the form of the text and the choice of words and grammatical forms should be adapted.

For the overall assessment to be objective, FOCUS also offers a speaking skills test. As you begin this part of the test, you will be asked various questions of increasing difficulty. In particular, some of the questions are designed to obtain descriptive answers about events in leisure time, professional situations and interest groups. The other part of the questions are so-called opinion questions and ask the user to express his/her opinions and views on a topic, which allows to assess the level of language proficiency. The speaking part of the question is conducted in such a way – the user hears the question and records his/her answer, which is sent to an experienced teacher for assessment. The maximum time for the speaking part is 30 minutes. But if the user feels that he/she could have demonstrated his/her speaking skills better, our flexible system allows the speech to be recorded again and the last recording submitted will be assessed.

FOCUS, the online foreign language proficiency testing tool developed by Skrivanek Baltic, is an advanced and contemporary system. First of all, it is a complex and comprehensive assessment of all foreign language knowledge and skills, and you get an objective summary of your foreign language proficiency score. Second, FOCUS is a convenient solution for today’s fast-paced life – you do not have to make an appointment and wait for a long time for a certain test date, and you do not have to come to a certain place at the examination centre! When contacting the Skrivanek Baltic Training Centre, you will be sent access details to the FOCUS system where you can complete all tasks at your own convenience. After the test, an individual foreign language summary and assessment will be prepared and sent to you within two working days. This assessment is based on the European Council’s Common European Framework of Reference for Language Skills (CEFR) and on the summary report you will see your level in the range from A1 to C1.

Register for the FOCUS foreign language proficiency and skills assessment, find a time and place that suits you, submit your answers in FOCUS and you will receive an objective assessment of your or a potential employee’s foreign language proficiency and skills easily, conveniently and safely!