The Occupational English Test (OET) test development and validation research

The Occupational English Test is a test to evaluate the English-language competency of qualified medical and health professionals who wish to practise in an English-language context.

The LTRC has been engaged in research on the Occupational English test (OET) for over three decades. Currently, the LTRC is working on the following projects:

Scoping study of professional to A5:I21 communication across health professions

This scoping study is an investigation of the types of professional to professional oral communication engaged in by healthcare professionals across a range of professions. The results will inform revisions to the existing speaking section of the OET, in an effort to ensure the test is well-aligned with current workplace communication practices. In the first phase of the study, interviews were conducted with a range of health professionals and health professional educators from target professions, to gain insights into the nature of current inter- and intra-professional communication practices. Based on interview data, the LTRC designed an online survey to gather insights from a larger number of health professionals. This second phase of the project will form the basis of profession-specific recommendations in relation to OET speaking task development.

Verification of checklist indicators in OET speaking test data

This study aims to establish, through detailed discourse analyses, the extent to which criteria specified in a revised checklist of indicators of effective oral communication, are elicited by the current OET speaking tasks. The data set will consist of 160 audio recorded role play performances across eight health professions (medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics, radiography, vet science, and pharmacy) from live OET administrations. Findings will inform evaluations of the suitability and applicability of the checklist as an assessment tool across the different profession-specific speaking tasks currently in use, and inversely, will inform future OET speaking task design.

Trialling of new OET listening and reading tests

As part of continued test validation efforts, the LTRC is conducting trials of newly developed versions of the OET listening and reading tests on behalf of Cambridge English and the Occupation English Test Centre.