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Flight Crew AECA

AECA is an assessment of English proficiency for Flight Crew who would like to be assessed in order to meet the language proficiency requirements specified in ICAO Annex 1 Personnel Licensing.

Test takers are assessed on their listening and speaking skills in which they are required to listen, understand, respond and interact during the test, when appropriate.

The test, in most of its parts, requires a test taker to use plain language* when providing responses. The contents of the test are mostly aviation and work- related, covering situations which are routine and non routine.

The objective and purpose of AECA, similarly to ICAO’s, is to ensure that all flight crew possess and maintain at least the minimum level of English in order to ensure safety.

* Note:

‘Plain language’ by definition: The spontaneous, creative and non-coded use of a given natural language

Test Overview
PART 1
In the first part of the assessment, the Test Taker is asked interview style questions by the interlocutor. These questions will be on a range of general to technical aviation topics that are familiar to the Test Taker such as their career, family, habits, experiences, goals ... etc.
Skill: Speaking
Interaction: face to face
Duration: 5-6 min
PART 2
In Part 2, the Test Taker listens to a report and answers questions written on the Question Paper. The Test Taker is given some time to study the questions before the audio is played. The recordings will be played once only.
Skill: Listening
Interaction: audio only
Duration: 5 min
Format : Paper based
PART 3
The Test Taker listens to a series of short conversations between two people. The Test Taker is required to listen to the exchanges as well as a question relating to the conversation and select the correct answer. These conversations will relate to a wide range of topics/scenarios. The recording will be played once only.
Skill: Listening
Interaction: audio only
Duration: 15 min
Format : Paper based
PART 4
The Test Taker listens to a briefing/talk and answers comprehension questions. The Test Taker is given some time to study the questions before the audio is played. The briefing may or may not be of a technical nature. The recording will be played once only.
Skill: Listening
Interaction: audio only
Duration: 15 min
Format : Paper based
PART 5
The Test Taker is shown a situation/scenario and is given some time to study and understand it. Then, the Test Taker is asked 3 -4 questions on the given task. Topics are on work related issues/situations.
Skill: Speaking
Interaction: audio only
Duration: 5-6 min
PART 6
The Test Taker is asked a series of questions and is expected to engage in a discussion with the interlocutor. The Test Taker is expected to give and support opinions, explain and elaborate and develop ideas. Topics are on general and/or work related issues/situations.
Skill: Speaking
Interaction: face to face
Duration: 5-6 min

Total Time: 55-60 min

AECA’s evaluation and scoring system is based on ICAO’s standard and recommended practices, specified in relevant ICAO guidance documents and manuals; Doc 9835 and Cir 318 respectively. To meet ICAO’s requirements, test takers’ levels of English proficiency are rated using the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale:
ICAO Level 6 Expert
ICAO Level 5 Extended
ICAO Level 4 Operational
ICAO Level 3 Pre-operational
ICAO Level 2 Elementary
ICAO Level 1 Pre-elementary

The ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale


The Operational Level (Level 4) is the minimum required proficiency level, being the safest minimum proficiency skill level determined necessary for aeronautical radiotelephony communications. Test Takers are assessed on six (6) skill areas of communication:

The skill areas of communication as described by ICAO

Test takers must be rated at least a 4 in all six (6) skill areas to be awarded an overall Level 4 / Operational Level rating. A lower score than 4 for any one skill area indicates inadequate proficiency.
Rating Sample 1:
Pronunciation Structure Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension Interactions Overall
4 4 5 5 4 4 4
Rating Sample 2:
Pronunciation Structure Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension Interactions Overall
4 4 4 3 3 4 3
Rating Sample 3:
Pronunciation Structure Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension Interactions Overall
3 4 4 2 4 4 2
These six skill areas are further elaborated in the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale:
Pronunciation
Level 6 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though possibly influenced by the first language or regional variation, almost never interfere with ease of understanding.
Level 5 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though influenced by the first language or regional variation, rarely interfere with ease of understanding.
Level 4 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation, but only sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.
Level 3 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation and frequently interfere with ease of understanding.
Level 2 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are heavily influenced by the first language or regional variation and usually interfere with ease of understanding.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
Structure
Level 6 Both basic and complex grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled.
Level 5 Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled. Complex structures are attempted but with errors which sometimes interferes with meaning.
Level 4 Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.
Level 3 Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns associated with predictable situations are not always well controlled. Errors frequently interfere with meaning.
Level 2 Shows only limited control of a few simple memorized grammatical structures and sentence patterns.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
Vocabulary
Level 6 Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on a wide variety of familiar and unfamiliar topics. Vocabulary is idiomatic, nuanced, and sensitive to register.
Level 5 Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete, and work-related topics. Paraphrases consistently and successfully. Vocabulary is sometimes idiomatic.
Level 4 Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete, and work related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances.
Level 3 Vocabulary range and accuracy are often sufficient to communicate on common, concrete, or work-related topics but range is limited and the word choice often inappropriate. Is often unable to paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary.
Level 2 Limited vocabulary range consisting only of isolated words and memorized phrases.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
Fluency
Level 6 Able to speak at length with a natural, effortless flow. Varies speech flow for stylistic effect, e.g. to emphasize a point. Uses appropriate discourse markers and connectors spontaneously.
Level 5 Able to speak at length with relative ease on familiar topics, but may not vary speech flow as a stylistic device. Can make use of appropriate discourse markers or connectors.
Level 4 Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.
Level 3 Produces stretches of language, but phrasing and pausing are often inappropriate. Hesitations or slowness in language processing may prevent effective communication. Fillers are sometimes distracting.
Level 2 Can produce very short, isolated, memorized utterances with frequent pausing and a distracting use of fillers to search for expressions and to articulate less familiar words.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
Comprehension
Level 6 Comprehension is consistently accurate in nearly all contexts and includes comprehension of linguistic and cultural subtleties.
Level 5 Comprehension is accurate on common, concrete, and work-related topics and mostly accurate when the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events. Is able to comprehend a range of speech varieties (dialect and/or accent) or registers.
Level 4 Comprehension is mostly accurate on common, concrete, and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies.
Level 3 Comprehension is often accurate on common, concrete, and work related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. May fail to understand a linguistic or situational turn of events.
Level 2 Comprehension is limited to isolated, memorized phrases when they are carefully and slowly articulated.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
Interactions
Level 6 Interacts with ease in nearly all situations. Is sensitive to verbal and nonverbal cues and responds to them appropriately.
Level 5 Responses are immediate, appropriate, and informative. Manages the speaker/listener relationship effectively.
Level 4 Responses are usually immediate, appropriate, and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming, or clarifying.
Level 3 Responses are sometimes immediate, appropriate, and informative. Can initiate and maintain exchanges with reasonable ease on familiar topics and in predictable situations. Generally inadequate when dealing with an unexpected turn of events.
Level 2 Response time is slow, and often inappropriate. Interaction is limited to simple routine exchanges.
Level 1 Performs at a level below the Elementary level.
ICAO Annex 1 prescribes a validity period of test results and recommends a formal re-evaluation process at appropriate intervals should test takers demonstrate proficiency below the Expert Level / Level 6:
ICAO Level 6 valid for licence endorsement for an indefinite period from the test date
ICAO Level 5 valid for licence endorsement for 6 years from the test date
ICAO Level 4 valid for licence endorsement for 3 years from the test date
(extracted from ICAO Annex 1 Para 1.2.9.7)
  1. those demonstrating language proficiency at the Operational Level (Level 4) should be evaluated at least once every three years;
  2. those demonstrating language proficiency at the Extended Level (Level 5) should be evaluated at least once every six years.
Note:

Formal evaluation is not required for applicants who demonstrate expert language proficiency, e.g. native and very proficient non-native speakers with a dialect or accent intelligible to the international aeronautical community.

To attempt the sample test, log in with your AECA username and password, or register as a Guest User.

Choose one of the below to establish your profile access
International Civil Aviation Organisation
  • • Annex 1 - Personnel Licensing (see 1.2.9 Language Proficiency and Appendix A - Language Proficiency Rating Scale);
  • • Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft
  • • Annex 10 - Aeronautical Communications, Volume II
  • • Annex 11 - Air Traffic Services
  • • Annex 19 - Safety Management, 1st Edition
  • • Doc 9835 AN/453 - Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements, Second Edition 2010.
  • • Attachment A to State letter AN 12/44.6-07/68, Resolution A36-11 - Proficiency in the English language for Radiotelephony;
  • • Attachment B to State letter AN 12/44.6-07/68, Guidelines for the Development of a Language Proficiency Implementation Plan;
  • • ICAO Language proficiency requirements - Implementation and maintenance recommended check-list, updated on 13/03/2013;
  • • ICAO Circular 318 Language Testing Criteria for Global Harmonisation
  • • ICAO Circular 323 Guidelines for Aviation English Training Programmes - guidelines based on the work of the Board and members of the International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA);
  • • For more information on the ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements consult the ICAO FSIX website: Implementation of Language Proficiency Requirements.

Department Civil Aviation Malaysia
  • • DCAM AIC 21/2005 on English Language Proficiency