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The reliability of the IELTS test must also be looked at. A single examiner is responsible for rating the candidate, therefore, the inter-rater reliability has to be questioned due to interpretation but a single person of the test taker. The scoring is split between four categories (appendix 4) – within these four categories there is no in-depth breakdown so scoring is at the discretion of the examiner.The effectiveness of the IELTS speaking test has some limitations. Overall it is a meaningful test which shows validity and reliability in some areas but there are areas in which both validity and reliability fall short as has been shown. The following suggestions could make the IELTS speaking test somewhat more valid and reliable – provide more time for the candidate to talk freely in the first section. In this way we could elicit more authentic data from the candidate and be provided with a more in-depth analysis of the actual ability the candidate has. More tasks would elicit a better performance from the candidate – discussion about a picture or tasks which represent different communicative processes. The grading scale should be open to more variables to provide a broader perspective and finally, more than one examiner would ensure a more reliable assessment.


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