On 6 December 2016, Mr. Chen Baosheng, China's Minister of Education, and Ms. Justine Greening, the UK Secretary of State for Education, signed Action Plan under the UK-China Partners in Education Framework. The document states that China and UK will conduct a collaborative research on linking IELTS and Aptis to China's Standards of English Language Ability. The National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA), Ministry of Education, China and the British Council were appointed respectively to implement this joint programme.
Launched at the beginning of 2017, the collaborative research on linking IELTS and Aptis to China's Standards of English (CSE) took two years to be completed. The team members include representatives and researchers from NEEA, Chinese academic institutions, the British Council, and Cambridge Assessment English. With the aim to demonstrate the best practice, the research team referred to past studies on linking international language tests to language standards and employed a scientific approach that integrated expert views and empirical data, collects evidence from multiple sources and emphasises results.
In addition, NEEA and the British Council jointly held International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment in several provinces, where hundreds of experts both at home and from abroad discussed on the application of the CSE and the implication of the CSE and the research on English learning, teaching and assessment in China.
The completion of the research on linking IELTS and Aptis to China's Standards of English (CSE) approves the application value of CSE, and sets the research standard of linking language tests to CSE, which facilitates the study on language learning patterns of English learners in different areas. It also contributes to the ‘opening up’ of China’s education, bringing ‘China’s standards’ to the world and adding Chinese wisdom to the language education sector.