top of page

How is my performance on the ICAO LPR Test evaluated ?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is responsible for the international standardization of aeronautical communications.

The language descriptors defined by ICAO provides detailed guidelines on how aviation personnel’s language proficiency is assessed based on their performance in each of those descriptors.

What is Language Proficiency?

Language proficiency is not merely knowledge of a set of grammar rules, vocabulary and ways of pronouncing sounds. It is a complex interaction of that knowledge with a number of skills and abilities.

Linguistic competence refers to the knowledge and meaningful use of the linguistic features of a given language or languages. When it comes to Listening and Speaking, the linguistic competence requires lexical (using single words or mixed expressions), grammatical (following rules of syntax and morphology), semantic (meanings and relationships of meanings) and phonological (sounds, syllable structure, sentence stress,rhythm and intonation) skills.

They language competence can be inferred in individuals only by observing the language performance of those individuals. The factors that may impact language proficiency, are, levels of attention, mood, stress, memory and processing abilities. These factors will, in turn, influence levels of performance in the areas of fluency, comprehension and interaction.

How is the ICAO rating scale applied ?

The assessors both use the ICAO rating scale to mark your performance. The ICAO rating scale was designed by an expert panel on behalf of ICAO.

You are tested in six language areas: Pronunciation, vocabulary, structure, fluency, comprehension and interaction. You are only tested for your listening and speaking skill. You are not being tested for reading or writing.

The ICAO rating scale has six levels. Level 1 being the lowest and level 6 the highest you can achieve. Level 4 is the so called ‘operational’ level. In order to pass the test, you will need to achieve at least a level 4.

There is no cumulative score. This is a rule that was defined by ICAO. It means that you need to achieve at least a level 4 in every one of the six criteria that are being tested. For example, let’s assume you achieve the following score:

Pronunciation: 4 Structure: 3 Vocabulary: 4 Fluency: 4 Comprehension: 5 Interaction: 4

The average score is a 4. The lowest score however is a 3 for structure, which means that this result would still be a fail.