An instant check of English language competence

CATs StepCheck is an instant, high-quality, cost-effective online tool for employers, institutions, organisations and governments to determine the level of English language competence of learners and employees against internationally recognised standards such as the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Integral to the CATs system, CATs StepCheck is an online adaptive placement test available to test speaking, listening, reading and writing in any combination.

How can StepCheck be used?

  • As a standalone product, for example as part of the recruitment process of an employment agency to test 50 applicants for 10 positions in a call centre.
  • As a gateway to the whole CATs eco-system, for example as part of the higher education entry system – once the candidate’s level of ability is understood, CATs can be used to make measurable improvements against the baseline.

CATs StepCheck includes instant online assessment of speaking and writing using state-of-the-art software developed in collaboration with Carnegie Speech using licensed technology from Carnegie Mellon University.

How does StepCheck work?

The test ‘adapts’ to the ability of the test taker by offering questions which are progressively more difficult or easier, depending on the test-taker’s previous response. The test continues until the test taker’s level of ability is established and can be ‘placed’ at the appropriate level. For example, a StepCheck reading and listening test usually takes 20 to 30 minutes and results are available instantly.

CATs StepCheck is available on demand and can be accessed simultaneously by multiple users.

It is easy to get started with CATs StepCheck:

  • 1

    Choose the language skills you want to include in your test.

  • 2

    Decide when and where you want to run the test.

  • 3

    Test-takers take the StepCheck test.

  • 4

    Instant results are available as downloadable reports.

CATs StepCheck results can be used in many ways, including:

  • To verify an individual’s level of language ability.
  • To establish a baseline level of proficiency.
  • To identify areas for improvement.
  • To set improvement targets.