Language assessment scoring is a complex feat with many layers to it. Most of the people that we talk to are familiar with common language ratings, like the A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 CEFR language levels. We also see a lot of people that understand what CEFR actually represents, and some who are familiar with multiple assessment scales.
Certainly, all of that information is really helpful for understanding language assessment scoring. But there’s one more crucial component you need to truly understand your testers’ skills: knowing what you’re measuring.
Data drives decisions
Let me show you what I mean.
Let’s say you’re looking at buying a new car. You’ve really needed this new car—you’ve been driving an old hunk of junk from the ‘90s, and it finally bit the dust. Among other things, you’re excited that you’ll be able to finally experience the updated technology available in newer vehicles.
You decide to test-drive a nice, mid-size car that meets your lifestyle requirements with all of the latest and greatest in new car technology. You’re most excited that, for the first time, you’ll have detailed insights about your car’s performance that you can use to make better decisions while you’re driving and caring for your new investment.
As you take it on the road for a test drive, you glance at the dashboard displays to get some quick insights about how the car’s doing.
And you notice that none of the data is labeled—you don’t know what any of the information means! You see various real-time graphs and numbers popping up, but without knowing what your car is actually measuring and displaying, you have no idea what your car’s trying to communicate to you.
Look beyond the number
See the problem? There are a lot of language assessments out there, and a lot of scales and standards companies can use to communicate testers’ results to you. While scales are very helpful and useful for relaying meaning, they’re simply not doing their job if you don’t understand what’s actually being measured.
Let’s take the CEFR standards, for example. CEFR levels can be applied to many aspects of language—like reading, writing, pronunciation, speaking, etc. So, if you’re looking for a speaking language assessment that provides CEFR scores, make sure that those scores are truly reflecting speaking ability, and not another skill.
Let me clarify. If a tester can really speak a language to another person, they need to be able to listen, understand, and synthesize information and then communicate both concrete and abstract ideas in an understandable way to the person they’re talking to.
As we’ve spent time in this industry, we’ve come across assessment solutions that claim to measure speaking ability on the CEFR scale, but really only measure pronunciation skills. Pronunciation is an important part of speaking a language, but it definitely pales in comparison to a measure of true speaking ability and all of the skills that come with it.
Do you know what your language assessment solution is truly measuring when it comes to language ability?
Measurement alone isn’t enough
Knowing what we know now, let’s revisit our car analogy. Getting a new car is like picking a language assessment solution. It’s great to be excited about the cool features and upgrades from your current language testing process, but you have to make sure the information you’re getting really works for you.
It doesn’t matter how well your solution works or can understand language performance if you don’t really know what it’s measuring.
You’d never buy a car that communicated performance results so poorly, so don’t settle for an assessment solution that isn’t measuring the right input—or, worse—can’t tell you exactly what type of language skills they’re evaluating in the first place. For reliable, valuable, and communicable results, choose a solution that can tell you exactly what they’re measuring.
Emmersion certifies language ability for organizations around the world using a fully automated and adaptive language assessment engine. It’s revolutionizing the language testing process with instant, accurate scoring for speaking, grammar, and writing ability in 9 global languages and counting. With a scalable assessment solution they can count on, hundreds of global businesses are building successful teams, reducing turnover, and improving their customer satisfaction scores. Learn more at www.Emmersion.ai.