2013: Celebrating 100 years of Cambridge English exams

2013: Celebrating 100 years of Cambridge English exams

Centenary plaque

Cambridge English Language Assessment (formerly known as University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations) is celebrating its centenary this year with a programme of special events around the world.

The first Cambridge English: Proficiency exam was taken in 1913 by three people. This 12-hour exam included translation, dictation and phonetic transcription. Now taken by over 4 million candidates around the world each year, Cambridge English exams provide an in-depth evaluation of candidates’ abilities and focus on the real-life communications skills they need for success at university, in the workplace and for immigration.

“This enormous growth reflects how English has evolved into a key skill needed to achieve competitive advantage”, says Dr Michael Milanovic, Chief Executive. The organisation today develops and produces the most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English in the world. 

The centenary celebrations began in January 2013 at an event at the Guildhall in Cambridge which saw the unveiling of a specially commissioned slate plaque (pictured above) carrying the inscription ‘Knowledge, Innovation and Excellence’ – designed by the Cambridge-based Cardozo Kindersley workshop.

This year also saw the publication of a new book, Cambridge English exams - the first hundred years, by Roger Hawkey and Michael Milanovic. It charts the journey taken by the exams as they combine long-standing values with a continual process of innovation. 

A major conference focussing on the future of English from the point of view of assessment, learning and teaching, took place on Saturday 7 September in Cambridge.

The programme of special events has also included celebrations in Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Dubai, France, Portugal, Argentina, USA, Korea and Peru.

Centenary book-407x204 Pictured above: Dr Michael Milanovic at the launch of 'Cambridge English exams - the first hundred years'

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