Research and More

ELTiS builds on Ballard & Tighe’s 40+ year history of developing assessments and instructional materials for English learners. It was developed in collaboration with CSIET, the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel.

History of ELTiS
Ballard & Tighe - CSIET Partnership
  • SLEP retired; CSIET needs a new test
  • Ballard & Tighe works with CSIET to create a new updated test
ELTiS launched
Online ELTiS released
  • Reliable & secure
  • Instant score reports
  • Random form assignment
  • No shipping = cost savings
Increased demand for accountability and online testing


ELTiS 2.0 released
  • All new users online only
  • New online test forms & reporting scale
  • New score verification = Increased test security


CSIET, the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel, is composed of of U.S. based and international organizations that facilitate long-term international student exchange programs at the secondary level. Every year, CSIET members are faced with the task of assessing the English proficiency of students from all around the world before they start their educational experience in the U.S. They need a standardized, practical and efficient test that can be administered and scored comparably everywhere around the world. The organizations are ready to collaborate and provide accountability to support the test administration process. In 2012, CSIET started to work with Ballard & Tighe to create a new English proficiency test for this purpose and setting.

ELTiS was originally developed as an assessment of high school based English. A previously existing Ballard & Tighe test that was developed for this same target setting was reviewed and discussed, and the parts of it that fit the CSIET working group’s expectations were compiled into a new test that was field tested with the help of volunteer member organizations.

The ELTiS blueprint is based on literature analysis and original studies conducted by Ballard & Tighe researches about language use in high school classrooms and textbooks. This direct relationship between the skills assessed on the test and the intended score interpretation makes ELTiS and its scores directly relevant to the decisions that ELTiS users want to make about students.

Test Structure

ELTiS has two main test sections: Listening and Reading. The Listening section takes approximately 30 minutes while the Reading section takes approximately 45 minutes. The online test is self-paced, so test length may vary. Each test section is divided into several parts.

The ELTiS 2.0 Listening section evaluates test takers' ability to understand:

The ELTiS 2.0 Reading section evaluates test takers' ability to understand:

In addition to operational test questions that count towards a student's score, each ELTiS 2.0 test usually includes a small number of questions that are being field tested for future operational use.