Pearson Test of English Young Learners, why not?

Primaria - JPG- Marzo 2019 - Pearson test English Young Learnes - 21260663_lel.jpg

La certificazione Pearson per studenti tra gli 8 e i 13 anni


Pearson Test of English Young Learners: che cos'è, come preparare gli alunni, come organizzare l'esame e molto altro, in un momento in cui le certificazioni sono sempre più importanti per il futuro dei nostri bambini.

di Donatella Fitzgerald

What is the Pearson Test of English Young Learners?

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Young Learners is a world recognized English Language qualification designed to be interesting and fun for children, and aims to make the first experience of learning English memorable and motivating.
The tests focus on every day English and are aligned to a level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR): Pre A1 Firstwords, A1 Springboard, A1+ Quickmarch and A2 Breakthrough.

On completion of the test students are awarded with a certificate by Edexcel, the largest regulated examining body for academic qualifications in the United Kingdom.

What skills are the Children tested on?

Children are tested on all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking skills to show how well they can use English in realistic contexts.
In Scuola Primaria we advise students take either Firstwords (pre A1) or Springboard (A1).

How long do the Firstwords and Springboard tests take?

The test is in two parts. Part One: Listening, Reading and Writing (60 minutes) and Part two: Speaking (20 minutes – approximately 4 minutes per student) where students are with the examiner and four other test takers.
Download the brochure of the PTE >> 

What is the structure of the tests?

Part One:

  • Listening – Two listening tasks which involve picture matching and multiple choice comprehension or answering questions about a conversation. These assess the students’ understanding of familiar functional language.
  • Reading and Writing – Four tasks which include picture matching to vocabulary, multiple choice dialogue completion, gap fill exercises and the use of grammar and vocabulary in a familiar context.

Part Two:

  • Speaking – A group of five test takers interact with the examiner. The first section of this test is a board game, where each student takes turns to ask and answer short questions about themselves on a familiar topic such as school and their family. In the second section the students speak for about a minute on a topic and also ask and answer questions. The speaking test assesses the students’ ability to structure responses to themes they know and also tests their range of vocabulary and awareness of pronunciation patterns and sounds.

Here you can see a short video of the Speaking test:

Pearson Test of English Young Learners
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Are the tests recognised by the Ministry of Education in Italy?

Pearson Edexcel Qualifications are recognised by the Ministry of Education in Italy. PTE Young Learners is provided by Edexcel Limited, the largest awarding body for academic and vocational qualifications in the UK so you can be sure that you are showing your students’ progress in an objective, international environment.

Which test can students take in Scuola Primaria?
Students can begin preparing for Firstwords (pre A1) in 4a Elementare or 5a (if this is their first International Qualification) or Springboard (A1) in 5a.

Why should students take the test? Will it help them with INVALSI?
Preparing students for the Pearson Test of English Young Learners can also be a way of preparing students for the INVALSI English Test. Some of the exam tasks and topics are similar and the focus on listening and reading skills can help with INVALSI practice. The test aims to give students a memorable first experience of learning English. The test focuses on real life tasks and helps them put into practice what they learn.
International qualifications are important Life Skills and provide students with better opportunities in life.’ Vanessa Hartson Walker – Kids Can Rome – Pearson Test of English Centre.

Key Features of the Pearson Test of English Young Learners (PTEYL)

Realistic Contexts and Scenario based Tests
Familiar Content and Fun CharactersChildren are tested on their ability to use structures and functions in realistic contexts. PTE Young Learners uses real-life every day situation scenarios rather than grammatical exercises which means students are measured on real practical English and the exam reflects real life situations which students can relate to and it makes it easier for the students to perform well.

Familiar Content and Fun Characters
The tests are set in the context of the adventures and every day activities of the Brown Family. They become familiar with the characters and events, which means that when they take the test they know the names of the characters and are familiar with their surroundings and so the test experience is comfortable and highly engaging ensuring the students have the confidence to perform well.

Enjoyable activities
The format of the test is enjoyable. The spoken part consists of a board game played with a group of other test takers. Students have fun throwing the dice, moving a counter around the board and asking and answering questions.
Download the Firstwords and Springboard boardgames >>

Integrated Skills

PTE Young Learners integrates the four skills, which is important as when communicating in English, students are often required to combine several language skills to perform a task.

How can teachers prepare students for Firstwords or Springboard?
Most of the vocabulary topics and grammar items in the Firstwords and Springboard tests are already being taught in your course book. Pearson also publishes the Pearson Test of English Young Learners Top Tips and Practice for Firstwords and Springboard (you can find it here: Pearson Test of English Young Learners) which ensures the students are prepared for all exam tasks and grammar and vocabulary which they will find in the exam. Students have access to all of the audio through the Pearson MyApp, this means they can listen to the audio at home on a mobile phone or tablet.

How does Pearson help teachers training for the PTE preparation?
Pearson offers teacher training in Italy for teachers to support them preparing students in curriculum hours.
Teachers can also download official past papers with audio, transcripts and answer keys for all levels free of charge on Pearson | PTE Academy.

How does the Pearson Certification project work?
Present the project to your school and to the parents in 4a and/or in 5a. Then you can begin preparing the students during curriculum hours. The guide to the Pearson Young Learners Tests Firstwords and Springboard will help you know what the syllabus for the exam is and the text book correlation charts will help guide you too. The students can be prepared by using the book Top Tips and Practice for Firstwords and Springboard. An Authorized Pearson English Test Centre will organise the exams for the school. Your educational consultant will tell you which schools are test centres in your area.

What do the parents say?
Parents are generally very enthusiastic about the project. Suor Adancilla, the Headteacher at the Pearson Test of English Preparation Centre -Ist ‘SS Vergine’, via Cassia, Rome says ‘Parents are very happy to have their children prepared for English International Certification during curriculum hours so they have more time in the afternoon to dedicate to other activities’.

Test Results

All students receive a certificate with stars on it. The number of stars depends on how they have scored in the test as a whole. This is very motivating for students as they all receive recognition for their efforts.

When can my students take the test?
There are exam sittings in May, June and November. Many teachers in Scuola Primaria are choosing mid-May after the INVALSI English Test.

Where can my students take the test?
Students can take the test in the familiar environment of their own school and authorized Pearson Test Centers will send examiners and invigilators to run the exam session. For further information please contact your local Pearson Educational Consultant.

How can I get more information?
Please go to the website or your local Pearson Educational Consultant or local Pearson Agent.

The final word goes to Maestra Isabella Alessandra Pannoncini, IC Bruno de Finetti, Roma who has joined the Pearson Learning Pathways project and is beginning to prepare her 5th year classes for the test.

Pearson Test of English… of Course!


«Sono un’insegnante di scuola primaria e nel corso di questo anno scolastico ho scelto di preparare gli alunni delle classi quinte alle certificazioni Firstwords e Springboard del PTE. Imparare l’Inglese sin da piccoli è molto importante e sicuramente più facile che in età adulta, ma ritengo che la difficoltà sia farlo capire ai bambini. Proprio per questo dare ai bambini un obiettivo a breve termine, ovvero quello di ottenere una certificazione al termine di un test, costituisca una motivazione concreta e fondamentale per ottenere risultati positivi. Inoltre quello che i ragazzi riceveranno al termine del percorso e dell’esame è una vera e propria certificazione internazionale anziché un semplice attestato di partecipazione, che li aiuterà a sviluppare le loro competenze trasversali.»

Scarica il BOARDGAME for FIRSTWORDS Pearson >>


Donatella Fitzgerald is a Pearson ELT Sales Manager, a teacher and a teacher trainer.