ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements — Rated Speech Samples

Language Proficiency Rating

Test Taker ID 031
Test Date 12 February 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 5 5 5 5 5 5

General Remarks

The test taker is very much at ease in English. His performance is clearly at least at ICAO Level 5. A more comprehensive test format might well have justified his being given a Level 6 in Fluency and Interactions.


Pronunciation is certainly coloured by the test taker's native language but almost never interferes with ease of understanding.

Occasional failure to mark the past form may be more attributed to pronunciation than to a failing of grammatical awareness:

  • I learn a lot from that (07:30 - 07:32)
  • passengers decease on you know inflight (07:42 - 07:45)

Otherwise, pronunciation is generally clear and stress patterns are used very naturally to attract attention or emphasize:

  • oh, I do not have preference (03:26 - 03:28)
  • actually there was one flight that I, it was a flight to Krabi (05:21 - 05:26)
  • this particular passenger had um, an existing medical condition (06:19 - 06:24)


Basic grammatical structures are consistently well controlled and even complex structures are only rarely incorrect:

  • as you know, in the cockpit is a two man crew, so it's a CRM going on between first officer and captain at all times, so there is always positive exchange, exchange of commands, assisting each other (00:22 - 00:39)
  • after the open sky policy that it was in effect by the new government (01:56 - 02:03)
  • probably like 15 minutes after after take-off (05:37 - 05:40)

The test taker often spontaneously paraphrases idiomatically:

  • So the captain said, "Ok, go back and try to assess the situation, you know how bad is it? What happened?" (05:56 - 06:03)


The test taker is rarely at a loss for vocabulary and demonstrates a considerable amount of appropriate specialised and idiomatic vocabulary:

  • open sky policy (01:57 - 01:58)
  • there were a lot of airlines, new airlines that just popped up (02:04 - 02:10)
  • existing medical condition (06:22 - 06:24)
  • proper medical certificate (06:51 - 06:54)
  • the passenger actually passed away (07:09 - 07:11)
  • the window was double paned (09:34 - 09:36)

There may be occasional improper uses of more difficult vocabulary:

  • we implement (complement) each other (00:51 - 00:54)
  • releasing (allowing) her to fly (06:55 - 06:57)


The test taker is able to speak at length with a natural effortless flow which he varies for stylistic effect. He possesses a large stock of idiomatic discourse markers that are used appropriately and with the required stress (see Pronunciation) to facilitate ease of comprehension:

  • Yes, I am. I am a first officer. (00:01 - 00:04)
  • actually there was one flight that I (05:21 - 05:24)
  • probably like 15 minutes after (05:36 - 05:39)

In addition, the test taker shows evidence of variation in speech flow for stylistic effect. This variation is especially evident in his recreation of the cockpit dialogue in segments 05:36 to 06:05 and 08:45 to 09:05, where he changes voice quality and speech flow to take on the roles of the pilot and the flight attendant.


The test taker's comprehension is consistently accurate on both common work-related and more complex unexpected topics. Although the format of the interview did not allow his understanding of a variety of accents to be assessed, he was totally at ease with idiomatic American English. Without this caveat, he would probably have been awarded a Level 6 for Comprehension.


The test taker's responses are always immediate, appropriate and informative. He manages the speaker/listener relationship with considerable ease picking up on and expanding on each of the interlocutor’s questions. He knows how to introduce each new topic in an engaging way:

  • well, in an aircraft (00:13 - 00:14)
  • Interlocutor: Oh! That's terrible! Test Taker: Yeah I know (07:12 - 07:15)

The test taker also evidences native-like use of markers to confirm and check listener understanding:

  • I was the first officer, right? (05:44 - 05:46)

Influence of the test format

This example, recorded on the telephone, highlights the difficulties in getting an appropriate sample of test taker performance across all ICAO Language Proficiency Levels without a structured set of interview prompts and a certain familiarity with the subject of aviation. In this instance, the test taker was very proficient and might have merited a rating of Level 6 in some skills had the test format included various accents, unpredictable situations, and a range of unfamiliar topics.

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