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März 2014

Interview with test developer Sean McDonald

telc English! on centre stage at IATEFL Harrogate 2014

IATEFL is the world’s largest international organisation of English teachers and telc will be on centre stage at the 48th Annual International conference in Harrogate from 2 – 5 April 2014! If you will be attending please come by our stand (27+28). We will be holding many interesting workshops and lectures, for detailed information please have a look at our conference schedule. 

In this regard, Sean McDonald from California, Project Manager for telc English! in the telc Test Development Team presents the background of the telc English! programme, and will tell us what developments we can expect in the future.

Editor: Sean, we are happy that you are our first interview partner this year. Let's start with our first question: Why does telc English! play such an important role in the telc programme? 
S.MD: Well, telc GmbH has a proven track-record in producing high quality examinations, with over 45 years of experience. In fact, the first tests telc developed were English Tests and not German Tests! We are the largest examination board for German and thus, our German examinations are widely known. However, considering the huge demand for English tests, we are of course offering our telc English! examinations worldwide, too.

Editor: How can one test provider, based in Germany, competently provide tests in eleven different languages? As a German test provider shouldn’t you only offer German?
S.MD: It’s funny that in our era of globalization you’re still asking me this question! (Laughs) Of course the telc headquarter is based in Germany, but our teams are global. My English team is based in London, Manchester, New York and even San Francisco. Everything comes together here in Frankfurt, and that’s what I’m here for. As for German influence – well, I‘m American and everybody on my team is a native speaker.

Editor: So you are saying that the English tests are developed under the same quality as the German tests? 
S.MD: Of course, we have the same standards and specifications for all languages. We also follow the same developing system for all eleven languages. In fact, we closely follow the ALTE quality standards as part of our full membership in ALTE. Here the quality standards are clearly defined – and we support them 100%!

Editor: Do you think telc English! can break into the English Market?
S.MD: Actually we already have! The demand for telc English! is growing rapidly. And not only in Germany! Our partners worldwide love our innovative dual-level test formats and they also really like working with telc for several reasons: competitive prices, flexible testing dates and of course the wide variety of languages we offer. And let’s not forget, that telc is the largest test provider not only in Germany but also in places such as Hungary and Poland where our tests are even fully accredited by the national ministries.

Editor: I understand that telc will not only be a sponsor but also have several speakers at the IATEFL in Harrogate coming soon?
S.MD: We are very excited about the IATEFL! This has become an important event for us. We submitted several topics/speakers to the independent panel and we are proud to announce, that six of our talks have been accepted! You will find our IATEFL Speaker Schedule soon on our website.

Editor: So telc is really doing a lot at the IATEFL this year?
S.MD: Oh yes! Another highlight for us will be the exclusive launch of our NEW telc Online Placement Test.

Editor: How do you think telc English! will be received in England?
S.MD: Well why don’t you come to our stand on Thursday and see for yourself – we’ll be offering a traditional Bavarian Breakfast to celebrate our German roots! But seriously – the demand for telc English! in the UK is also growing rapidly. In a nutshell, telc English! already has been accepted as excellent proof of English. Due to the high demand we are increasing our presence in the UK, especially in London. We really have a lot of exciting things coming up in a few months. 

Editor: Thank you very much for you time Sean.