Frequently asked Questions about the English Comprehension Level (ECL) Test

1. What does the ECL Test test?

It tests listening and reading comprehension in English; it does not test speaking or writing ability.

2. Who can obtain ECL tests?

Only designated US Government representatives who have an official requirement to obtain the tests. They are usually US Military or State Department personnel, or US citizens who are associated with them.

3. What is the difference between the ECL and the ALCPT?

Both are multiple choice tests of listening and reading. They are constructed using the same test design, but different items. The major difference is in degree of control; as noted above, the ECL can only be handled by US citizens who are employees of the US Government.

4. How long is an ECL score valid?

It’s valid for 105 days.

5. Why only 105 days?

If a person takes the test and achieves his/her required score, but then stops studying English, his/her language ability may deteriorate over time.

6. How long does it take to take the test?

It takes a little more than an hour.

7. What is the CAT ECL?

DLIELC has developed a computer adaptive version of the ECL that shortens testing time and reduces test compromise.

8. How does the CAT ECL compare to a paper-and-pencil ECL?

When the CAT ECL was validated at DLIELC, the correlation with the paper-and-pencil ECL was .93.

9. Are some versions of the ECL test easier than others?

No, the ECL forms are mathematically equated through a statistical process called Rasch analysis.

10. Why can’t students take the ECL as often as they want?

Regulations specify that the ECL can be administered to a student only once a month. More frequent administrations to the same person may reveal seesawing scores that result in frustration, or improved scores that reflect test-wiseness rather than an actual increase in proficiency. This activity may also lead to compromise from overuse of tests.


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