The Santos Dumont English Assessment – SDEA is the exam developed by the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) exclusively for Brazilian pilot to measure their English proficiency level, in accordance with the ICAO Annex 1 and RBAC 61. Following ICAO guidelines, the SDEA assesses the candidate’s skills to speak and understand the English language within work-related contexts.

This includes routine, unforeseen and emergency situations, all of which are appropriate to the operational context, giving the candidate the opportunity to show his ability to conduct radio communications in English in an efficient and safe manner. Thus, in all parts of the exam, the questions are related to the universe of civil aviation, many of which appear contextualized by radiotelephony and standard air traffic phraseology.

In spite of this, the candidate’s oral production will not be judged according to technical or operational precision, as the exam seeks to verify his linguistic proficiency as a whole.

The ICAO language proficiency scale and holistic descriptors underpin the assessment of the candidate’s performance. The scale details the six areas of linguistic production: pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and interactions. In each of these areas, the current exam format ranks the candidate at five levels – from one to five. The final grade is equal to the lowest grade received in the six areas. To be authorized to perform international flights, the pilot must obtain, at least, final level four – Operational.

The complete result, with details on the level reached by the pilot in each evaluated area, is disclosed to the candidate by email by ANAC, within 30 working days after the exam.