As we near the end of 2021, and as we conclude another year of helping companies with the digital transformation that has been so undeniably impacted by the global pandemic, we thought that it may be helpful to look back on one area that we know is important: data integrity and score confidence.
Around the world, when most contact centers want to screen for language ability, they consider an interview-style assessment. While there are several commercial test products that use interview-style tasks, these tests are generally very expensive and have inefficiencies in the return time for scoring. As a result, many organizations will move language screening processes in-house and use their existing language resources—if they have any—to conduct language screening interviews.
At Emmersion, our vision for our work is to close the global communication gap. We do this by enhancing, credentialing, and supporting the learning of languages. However, we do not believe the burden to close this gap falls solely on language-learners. Native and mastery-level users of a language also have a responsibility to create language communities that are open and accommodating to language-learners.
While we are proud of our accomplishments towards automated speaking assessment solutions and claim many first ascents in this area of language testing, we also recognize that other solutions are out there that use similar tools to our automated assessments. You might wonder what we think about these competitors. To be honest, we welcome the company! Being a Team Player is a part of our culture. It’s validating to see the work that others are doing that aligns with our own.
The team I’m part of recently did the first of a series of training sessions that focus on Emmersion fundamentals—key features and processes that help anyone better understand the important work we do. If you have been a regular reader, you will hopefully recognize some overlap between what is discussed here and what we have discussed earlier.
One of our core Emmersion culture values is to be a Truth Seeker. In practice, truth seeking relates to our desire to be thorough and rigorous in the development of products that work. It also manifests itself in how we talk about why we do what we do.
This week’s post will be a little self indulgent. I hate the “sorry not sorry” card but I’m going to play it anyway. The Emmersion team crossed an important milestone a couple weeks ago as we leveled up our automated English speaking assessment, and it became the FIRST-ever, fully adaptive automated speaking assessment. It has been a great privilege to work with the brilliant minds that have made this vision a reality, and it is a credit to the persistence of the visionary who carried the seeds, tilled the soil, and nurtured it to fruition. You can hear from the brains behind it all, Dr. Jacob Burdis, here.
Recently, I wrote an article for ICMI discussing how to use—and when not to use—interview-style assessments to screen for job candidate language ability. Over my career, I have worked with language teachers, administrators, and other professionals to develop their skills in capturing and evaluating language performance data. An interview-style approach, despite its limits, also has a lot of advantages. Selfishly, of its greatest benefits is that it is one of the most enjoyable to employ as a language-tester. It is a satisfying way to connect with the person that you are evaluating.
Several years ago a video went viral. It featured a man and a woman talking on a sofa. The woman is complaining about pain and pressure she’s experiencing. The camera is zoomed in tight to heighten dramatic effect, which limits you to seeing no more than just one side of her lower face. The man is sympathetically nodding but there’s something mysterious and conflicted about his expression. As he stumbles toward a suggestion, the camera pans out and you’re able to see the woman’s full profile: protruding from her forehead is a nail. This is what the man has tried to communicate but she’ll have none of it. It’s not about the nail.