AI-powered SVAR helps gauge impact of English training program scientifically

Aspiring Minds’ advanced technology transforms Spoken English Skills testing into an objective and scalable process.

Solution: SVAR Technology

Business Impact:

  • Seamlessly evaluated 15000 applicants
  • Standardized and reliable Spoken English Skills test

Millennials in India have a serious challenge ahead of them. There is a major skills gap that makes employability difficult– the biggest of which is poor English language skills. To address this critical lack of English-speaking skills, one the world’s leading philanthropic foundations (the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation) initiated a specific study– The English Training Impact Study to:

  • determine the impact of spoken English language training on employability of young job seekers; and
  • identify the most effective, robust and scalable models that would deliver the most improvement in SES levels.

The study covered over 15000 students and young job seekers throughout India. Aspiring Minds advanced SVAR technology was selected as the assessment solutions. The requirements of the study included longitudinal evaluation of spoken English skills and establishing a baseline and end-line assessment to evaluate improvement in the spoken English skills of candidates in an objective and scalable manner.

CHALLENGE

Many Indian college seniors and graduates lack proficiency in basic English language skills which severely limits their career opportunities. Becoming proficient in the English language is complicated. Not only is it cost-prohibitive to hire private tutors, many job seekers have limited access to classroom training or live in rural areas where internet connectivity is challenging or non-existent. There were over 15000 students included in the study who lived over an expansive geographical area. They had a wide range of communications skills and English aptitude levels and spoke multiple native languages.

Because of the size of the study and the number of different dialects, it was imperative that the solution also be highly objective, reliable and meet standardization requirements. If testing were done manually, human testers may or may not be objective, the test would lack standardization and the outcomes unreliable. And the process would not scale. The key was to find a solution that could automate Spoken English Skills (SES) testing and confidently assure objectivity, reliability and standardization of results.

SOLUTION

SVAR® from Aspiring Minds – the recipe for success

A holistic approach to evaluating English language proficiency, SVAR integrates AI, machine-learning and voice recognition to accurately assess skills.

An automated process makes it easy to take the tests and provides immediate results; advanced voice recognition technology removes human subjectivity and state-of-the-art AI engine delivers consistent, accurate and reliable outcomes.

The English Training Impact Study was highly sophisticated with a laser focus on determining whether a technology solution could both deliver improved testing outcomes and scale across the country. The Study chose the Aspiring Minds solution as one of the technology platforms to evaluate the impact of technology on SES testing because it blended an AI with assessment science and voice recognition technology, was cloud-based, and was completely automated.

From the start, the evaluators realized the solution was smart; it was powerful, highly scalable and based in science. The AI powered SVAR solution delivered on every requirement to make this longitudinal study valid.

Scientific and reliable: Using AI, voice recognition and natural language processing, SVAR holistically evaluated candidates across six key parameters –pronunciation, fluency, active listening, grammar, vocabulary and spoken English comprehension. Advanced voice recognition (VR) accurately scored every candidate – even with native accents. It ensured its scores have high correlation to a human evaluator and eliminated the subjectivity of manual assessment. State-of-the-art AI engine consistently delivered objective, fair and reliable results––a requirement for a scientific, longitudinal study.

Standardized and multiple languages: 100 percent cloud-based and mobile ready, shorter 15 minutes tests were readily accessible from a computer, mobile app, or an IVR phone line. Even when internet connectivity was spotty, the candidates could finish their tests easily.

Scalable and accessible: Thousands of companies worldwide rely on SVAR technology to deliver millions of English language skills evaluations. SVAR technology is smart enough to evaluate skills in multiple accents, with local and global norms. It uses the Common European Framework (CEFR) equivalent rating too which ensure candidates were judged based on international and reliable standards.

Results

SVAR is a game-changer when it comes to automating SES testing. We reliably and fairly evaluated over 15000 students throughout India with no hiccups. And the best part––the candidates enjoyed taking the tests.

Ensuring a fair and scientific assessment of English language testing: From a testing perspective, nothing was more important than finding a solution that was backed by science and able to confidently evaluate tests in a fair and reliable process. The Aspiring Minds SVAR solution delivered on all counts. The solution gave us an objective and scalable way to evaluate the impact of training on candidates’ spoken English language skills. The state-of-the-art AI engine delivered fair and accurate insights into candidates’ English competencies while the CEFR ratings ensured we evaluated our students consistently across international standards. The English Training Impact Study was highly sophisticated and required a level of scientific assessment that not all solutions offered. The AI powered SVAR solution delivered on every requirement to make this longitudinal study valid.

Realizing candidate experience really matters. A simple and uncomplicated interface, combined with detailed instructions and support in their native language, made it extremely easy for students to take assessments regardless of their varying English aptitudes. The fact that candidates could easily complete a 15-minute test irrespective of their network connectivity also made a big difference since access represents one of the biggest challenges for these young job seekers. The process was uncomplicated which every candidate appreciated.

Understanding the power of a scalable and reliable solution: The network infrastructure challenges throughout India consistently impacts the ability for candidates to improve the skills needed to advance their careers. The Aspiring Minds’ enterprise-ready, cloud-based architecture combined with auto-proctoring and mobile readiness ensured students could securely assess and complete tests anywhere on any device regardless of their internet connectivity. This was an absolute game-changer.

ABOUT US

Blending the power of Artificial Intelligence with the science of psychometrics, Aspiring Minds optimizes your hiring process to select the best through an engaging candidate experience. Our comprehensive portfolio of assessment and interview solutions to measure cognitive abilities, language proficiency, personality traits and functional skills allows corporations to select for 100s of different job roles. You can rely on our predictive analytics to identify high-performing, engaged and long-lasting employees.