ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements — Rated Speech Samples

Language Proficiency Rating

Test Taker ID 017
Test Date 26 May 2005
Lead Rater ICAO
Assistant Rater(s) ICAO

Individual Ratings and Final Rating

(To be completed by Lead Rater)
Pronunciation Structure Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension Interactions

(Lowest rating among individual ratings)
5 4 5 4 4 5 4

General Remarks

The test taker is a careful, accurate speaker whose very attention to correctness tends to have a detrimental effect on his rate of speech thus undermining his fluency. The desire to use quite complex expressions and grammar also results in quite a few minor structural errors. As a result, in both Structure and Fluency he only reaches ICAO Level 4. His enunciation is very clear and precise. His vocabulary is extended, appropriate and often idiomatic both in every day and work-related areas. He interacts well with the interlocutor and expands on the information required of him.


On the whole, the test taker's pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation are clear:

  • Uh as to me, I think the first major threat to air traffic is uh the incoming, sorry, the increasing number of flights over the skies in Europe and all over the world. (04:54 - 05:09)

There are examples of mis-pronunciation of words and shifting of stressed syllables:

  • the challenge of this uh work, I mean, uh to be an air traffic controller requires uh to have special kills, uh good knowledge of uh aviation uh terms (00:18 - 00:35)
  • I wanted to take part in the aviation uh industry, let's say, in any, any form. (01:43 - 01:55)
  • But uh the um aircraft systems uh advanced uh a lot in the few decades, uh which uh essues (ensures) the safety uh is maintained (06:28 - 06:43)

but these rarely interfere with understanding.


Errors do occur:

  • Uh yes, we can say so, but uh I'm uh well con content uh with that uh job (meaning ‘this’) as well. (02:36 - 02:47)
  • Yes uh, it started uh one and a half year (years) ago, um, well uh twelve people were admitted to the course (02:55 - 03:09)
  • having uh the exams uh taken (having taken the exams), we got to the simulator for about four months' time (04:08 - 04:17)
  • but uh, some factor (factors) which can um affect the safety as well (06:46 - 06:53)
  • most uh interesting uh is about my work uh that there aren't uh the two uh situations uh at uh different times, so every days are are different from the other (07:30 - 07:47)

However, the test taker produces a lot of language, some of which is quite complex and most of which is usually well controlled:

  • Because it uh, it required, it it uh requires, uh now, uh a whole lot of money to, to uh make the requirements, entry requirements uh to to an airline. (02:09 - 02:29)
  • twelve uh people were admitted to the course (03:04 - 03:08)
  • the entry requirement was to have a university degree of any kind (03:12 - 03:18)


Errors are rare:

  • and an English certificate of at least medium (intermediate) uh intermediate level (03:18 - 03:27)

with vocabulary generally being used effectively:

  • challenge (00:17 - 00:19)
  • quick reactions (00:40 - 00:42)
  • industry (01:49 - 01:51)
  • content (02:42 - 02:43)
  • rules of the air (03:46 - 03:48)
  • other stuff (03:53 - 03:54)
  • reduced vertical separation and minima (06:07 - 06:10)
  • factors (06:47 - 06:48)
  • bumped (07:16 - 07:17)


The test taker has quite a considered delivery. There are several cases where his search for vocabulary and linguistic correctness result in extended pauses:

  • there are some systems ... increasing levels (05:10 - 05:29)

However, there are stretches of language which are delivered at an appropriate tempo and communication is effective:

  • talking about why he wanted to become an air traffic controller (01:06 - 02:07)
  • talking about low-budget airlines and vertical separations (05:39 - 06:17)


Comprehension is consistently accurate in nearly all contexts. However, it is not possible to rate this test taker higher than a Level 4 because of the limitations of the test in respect of testing dialect and/or accent or registers, or being confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events.


Responses are immediate, appropriate and informative. The test taker expands on each of his responses and manages the speaker/listener relationship effectively:

  • Interlocutor: So now, at this moment, you are an licensed air traffic controller? Test taker: Not really. I'm a trainee air traffic controller, uh, I do control air traffic uh at uh the airport, uh just uh with an instructor. (04:20 - 04:37)
  • Interlocutor: What do you think threatens aviation safety these days? Test taker: Uh as to me, I think the first major threat to air traffic is uh the incoming, sorry, the increasing number of flights over the skies uh in Europe and all over the world. uh There are some systems which are, made to, sorry, um, which are made to, ensure the safety of these increasing levels uh over Europe. (04:45 - 05:33)

Influence of the test format

The interlocutor’s questions cover a wide range of appropriate topics. However, the test format does not provide an opportunity to expose the test taker to a range of different accents and speech registers and so does not permit all the aspects of Comprehension on the ICAO Rating Scale to be assessed. The interlocutor is a little too supportive, often volunteering information or correcting a word and perhaps depriving the test taker of the need to paraphrase.

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