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How is IELTS marked? | IELTS Band Score

How is IELTS marked? | IELTS Band Score

by Kishwar Chahal

Once you have undergone the IELTS test, your score will be provided to you in an assessment system know as the Band Score. The results are high on quality control and very rigorous.  The examiners are trained and have standardized guidelines which they strictly adhere to. The examiner themselves are certified under the Cambridge English Language Assessment and are involved in an ongoing training process.

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While each skill is profiled individually on a Band Scale of 1 to 9, the end result of the candidate is a collaborative and average of all the skills known as the Overall Band Score.

Overall Band Score

The candidate appearing for the IELTS test receives a Test Report on the completion of his test. This report has their Overall Band Score and their score of the four sub- tests; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Overall Band Score is calculated by taking the mean of the total of the four individual sub-test scores.

The band score are calculated to the nearest whole or half band. If the average across the four sub tests ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

For Example:

Thus, a candidate achieving 6.0 for Listening, 7.5 for Reading, 7.5 for Writing and 6.0 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 7.0 (27 ÷ 4 = 6.75 = Band 7.0).

Likewise, a candidate achieving 5.0 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 6.0 for Writing and 7.5 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 6.5 (25 ÷ 4 = 6.25= Band 6.5).

On the other hand, a candidate achieving 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.5 for Writing and 6.0 for Speaking would be awarded band 6 (24.5 ÷ 4 = 6.125 = Band 6).

Listening and reading

IELTS Listening and Reading papers contain 40 items. Each correct item is awarded one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.

In order to equate different test versions, the band score boundaries are set so that all candidates’ results relate to the same scale of achievement. This means, for example, that the Band 6 boundary may be set at a slightly different raw score across versions.

Writing and speaking

When marking the Writing and Speaking sub-tests, examiners use detailed performance descriptors which describe written and spoken performance at each of the 9 IELTS bands.

Writing

Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2), Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.  The four criteria are equally weighted.

Speaking

Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation. The four criteria are equally weighted.

IELTS Listening marking schemes

For the listening test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.


Band Score

9

8.5

8

7.5

7

6.5

6

5.5

5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

Score / 40

39-40

37-38

35-36

32-34

30-31

26-29

23-25

18-22

16-17

13-15

10-12

8-10

6-7

4-5

IELTS General Reading marking schemes

For the general reading test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.


Band Score

9

8.5

8

7.5

7

6.5

6

5.5

5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

Score / 40

40

39

37-38

36

34-35

32-33

30-31

27-29

23-26

19-22

15-18

12-14

9-11

6-8

IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes

For the academic reading test, which also contains 40 questions, but is more difficult, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.


Band Score

9

8.5

8

7.5

7

6.5

6

5.5

5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

Score / 40

39-40

37-38

35-36

33-34

30-32

27-29

23-26

19-22

15-18

13-14

10-12

8-9

6-7

4-5

 

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