Aptis case study: Rwanda Education Board

Country: Rwanda
Client: UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Rwanda Education Board (REB)
Test takers: 660 public and government-aided primary and secondary school teachers in Rwanda
Purpose of the test: To establish CEFR levels for a nationally representative sample of school teachers in Rwanda; results of which would be used as the basis for the payment of Results Based Aid (RBA) from the UK Government to the Government of Rwanda. As such the results were highly significant.
Skills package: Aptis for Teachers. Core + Reading + Listening + Writing + Speaking
Mode of Delivery: Core, Reading, Writing and Listening pen and paper based. Speaking computer based (downloaded in advance)
Administration: British Council Rwanda working in partnership with two local organisations: The International Education Exchange and VSO, and in close collaboration with REB to facilitate the administration and provide resources.

In 2012 the British Council was contracted by the Department for International Development (DFID) to establish the baseline level of English language proficiency of a nationally representative sample of primary and secondary school teachers in Rwanda. This baseline was the measure from which improvement in the English language level of Rwanda’s school teachers would be assessed and from which, under the Results Based Compact between the UK Government and the Government of Rwanda, payments on improvement would be made.

Aptis General was used for testing the Core + Writing + Speaking + Listening + Reading skills of 600 teachers. In 2014 the British Council was contracted by the DFID to establish endline CEFR levels from which Results Based Aid payments could be calculated.

Again Core +Writing +Speaking + Listening + Reading skills were tested of 660 teachers using Aptis for Teachers. Aptis for Teachers was selected as the test instrument for the 2014 endline over the Aptis General English Test as the test reflects more closely the candidate’s understanding and use of English within educational contexts and the content utilises themes and scenarios that teachers encounter every day.

The sampling of the teachers to be tested had to be representative, so teachers were selected from every province and from 12 districts. This meant that testing took part in rural areas of Rwanda where electricity supply is a concern and many teachers are unfamiliar with computers. For these reasons only the speaking component of Aptis for Teachers was computer based, with all other components being done on pen and paper. The listening component was administered using CDs.


The results of the 2014 study using Aptis for Teachers were important for two main reasons. Firstly, they provided the Government of Rwanda with valuable data about the current levels of English language levels of school teachers and because they were used to calculate RBA payment to the Government of Rwanda.

A comparative analysis of the 2012 and 2014 results revealed that there have been considerable improvements in the English language skills of school teachers in Rwanda. However, it is also recognised that sustained efforts and further interventions are needed in order for teachers in Rwanda to be fully effective and competent in using English as the medium of instruction.