The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) is a standardized high-intermediate level English as a foreign language (EFL) examination. You can use an ECCE certificate:
- As evidence of high-intermediate competence in English for personal, public, educational, and occupational purposes
- To provide evidence of your level of English to employers
- When applying for a job or a promotion, or when conducting business with companies worldwide
The ECCE is aimed at the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and is valid for the lifetime of the recipient. Language users at the B2 competency level:
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
(Council of Europe, 2001: 24)
The ECCE is a test of general language competency in a variety of contexts. The four-component skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking are evaluated through a combination of tasks.
|Section||Time||Description||Number of Items|
|Speaking||15 minutes||Test takers participate in a structured, multistage task with one examiner.||4 stages|
|Listening||30 minutes||Part 1 (multiple choice)
A short recorded conversation is followed by a question. Answer choices are shown as pictures.
|Part 2 (multiple choice)
Short talks delivered by single speakers on different topics, followed by 4 to 6 questions each.
|90 minutes||Grammar (multiple choice)
An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words or phrases to complete it. Only one choice is grammatically correct.
|Vocabulary (multiple choice)
An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words or phrases to complete it. Only one word has the correct meaning in that context.
|Reading (multiple choice)
Part 1: A short reading passage is followed by comprehension questions.
Part 2: Two sets of four short texts related to each other by topic are followed by 10 questions each.
|Writing||30 minutes||The test taker reads a short excerpt from a newspaper article and then writes a letter or essay giving an opinion about a situation or issue.||1 task|
Taking the ECCE
The ECCE is offered at different times during the year. You can take the ECCE each time it is offered. Contact your local test center for more specific information about test dates.
Using Alternate English Accents or Spellings on the ECCE
During the speaking or writing sections of the ECCE, you are allowed to use alternate English accents or spellings. You will not be penalized.
The listening section and grammar, vocabulary, and reading sections of the ECCE are scored electronically at Michigan Language Assessment using an advanced mathematical model based on Item Response Theory that ensures the ability required to pass a section, or to receive a high score, remains the same from year to year.
Read more about scaled scoring in Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Scaled Scores on the ECCE.
The speaking and writing sections are graded according to rating scales established by Michigan Language Assessment. The speaking ratings are assigned by trained raters who conduct the speaking section of the exam (see Speaking Test Examiner Qualifications). The writing ratings are assigned by raters trained and certified according to Michigan Language Assessment standards. All writing responses are scored by at least two raters.
Test taker scores on the four sections of the exam are taken into consideration in determining who passes the exam and receives a certificate.
Procedures for Reporting Scores
ECCE section scores are reported in five bands. The levels of performance, from highest to lowest, are:
|Scaled Score Per Section|
|Low Pass (LP)||650-745|
|Borderline Fail (BF)||610-645|
Test takers who achieve an average score of 650 or higher will be awarded a certificate. Additionally, those who achieve a score of 840 or higher in all four sections will be awarded a Certificate of Competency with Honors. An ECCE qualification is valid for life.
Interpreting Your Scores
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) includes six common reference levels, ranging from basic user to master as defined by the Council of Europe (2001). The ECCE is aimed at the B2 (Vantage) level of the CEFR. Language users at this competency level:
Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. (Council of Europe, 2001: 24)
The ECCE estimates the test taker’s true competency by approximating the kinds of tasks that may be encountered in real life. Temporary factors, such as fatigue, anxiety, or illness, may affect exam results.
If you wish to have your ECCE rescored, a rescore request is available online.
- You have up to one month after your test results have been issued to request a rescore
- You will receive your rescore after the request has been processed
ECCE Test Results
You will typically receive your results within two months after taking the exam. The ECCE examination report shows your overall performance (Honors, Pass, or Fail) as well as numerical scores for each test section.
The test center where you took the exam will notify you of your results and will issue your score report. Certificates are sent to the test centers for distribution to successful test takers.
Contact your test center if you need to replace a certificate due to loss, damage, or incorrectly spelled name.
ECCE test takers will receive a scaled numeric score for all four sections. Test takers who achieve an average score of 650 or higher will be awarded a certificate. Additionally, ECCE test takers who achieve a score of 840 or higher in all four sections will be awarded a Certificate of Competency with Honors.