Test Design Guidelines – Handbook on the Design of Tests for the ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements (ICAO Doc 10197)

From Forward to ICAO Doc 10197:

The variation in tests produced under the existing LPRs worldwide has led to differences in what tests assess, the extent to which they address language for radiotelephony communications and the levels they provide. Such issues affect stakeholder confidence in test results. These variations have complicated efforts to harmonize LPR testing standards. Consequently, a conclusion was that LPR testing practices can only be standardized when a framework that outlines essential features of LPR test design is put into place.

This handbook has been developed as guidance to help licensing authorities select and approve LPR tests based on key features related to LPR test design. The Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements (Doc 9835) was developed to assist States and test developers with the initial implementation of the LPRs. The manual included different options related to language testing concepts and principles. This handbook offers additional guidance on LPR test design and provides recommendations on those options offered in Doc 9835. It aims to assist with the harmonization of LPR test design and therefore more uniform implementation of the LPRs.

The handbook was created within the framework of ICAO Secretariat, by an ad-hoc group gathering experts from the International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA), professionals in language testing and operational research, as well as practitioners in language testing. Extensively referenced with academic sources, it has undergone peer review to incorporate perspectives from the broader stakeholder community.

Test Design Guidelines Handbook (Doc 10197):

  • is intended to assist in the selection and auditing of existing or new LPR tests, by helping CAAs recognize what to look for when approving tests used for licensing purposes,
  • is intended to allow CAAs to become familiar with concepts in LPR-specific language test design and to use each of the criteria for guidance on test approval,
  • is not intended to replace and/or modify current ICAO LPR provisions, but to support harmonized implementation, and,
  • provides narrower interpretations of previous LPR guidance material, and clear recommendations where options offered may not follow best practice in specific-purpose language testing, which has allowed for significant variations in LPR test design, undermining LPR test quality and harmonization.

ACCESS   ICAO Document Portal


In 2019, following the initial development of the guidelines, ICAEA provided four practical workshops to introduce and demonstrate their use to CAAs and other stakeholders. Each workshop featured a hands-on programme especially designed for personnel involved in LPR test approval, auditing and development.

MORE   TDG Workshops