IELTS assessment criteria

Understanding how IELTS Writing and Speaking tests are marked can help you support your students in the right areas. Learn more about our assessment criteria. 

Understanding how IELTS Writing and Speaking tests are marked can help you support your students in the right areas. Learn more about our assessment criteria. As a teacher, a good knowledge of the IELTS assessment criteria will help you steer students in the right direction. For example, you’ll be able to help students understand what the examiners are looking for, or help students of different levels prepare for the test in the same class.

How to use IELTS writing assessment criteria

IELTS Writing assessment criteria are designed to guide teachers and students towards a deeper understanding of the rules of writing in English. 

For a more focused and accurate approach to marking your students’ writing, use the IELTS Writing public band descriptors, which highlight learning expectations for each band score. 

You should focus particularly on bands 5, 6 and 7, simplifying the key differences between them to make these clear to your students. 

Teach model answers for different band scores and use the criteria to understand why sample writing answers achieve certain IELTS band scores. 

You can also use the criteria to challenge higher-level students to improve specific aspects of their writing in English.

How to use IELTS speaking assessment criteria

Use the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria to help your students identify their strong points and weak points when speaking English, and to support them in the areas that need improvement.

The criteria will help your students understand the nuances of spoken English at different levels. 

You should use the criteria to understand the band scores given for IELTS speaking tests, and to help your students understand how they can work on specific aspects of their speaking, such as their pronunciation.

Watch our series of videos on the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria.

How does IELTS rate against CEFR?

View the IELTS CEFR diagram to check IELTS scores against international English language benchmarks such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and Cambridge Assessment English exams.