How SVAR was the first choice for Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to evaluate Spoken English skills of its program participants
Aspiring Minds’ advanced technology transforms Spoken English Skills testing into an objective and scalable process.
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 help test and expand Spoken English Skills (SES) in the younger job seeking Indian population. The Aspiring Minds advanced SVAR technology was selected as one of the technology solutions 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. They lived over an expansive geographical area and had a wide range of communications skills, English aptitude levels and spoke multiple native languages. Study requirements 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.
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 best solution would automate Spoken English Skills (SES) testing and assure objectivity, reliability and standardization of results.
The English Training Impact Study was highly sophisticated with the singular focus of determining whether a technology solution could deliver improved testing outcomes and scale across the country. Aspiring Minds was chosen for the Study because the solution blends Artificial Intelligence(AI) with assessment science and voice recognition technology, is 100% cloud-based, and completely automated. 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 a high correlation to a human evaluator and eliminated the subjectivity of manual assessment. State-of-the-art AI consistently delivered objective, fair and reliable results.
Scalable and accessible. 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.
Standardized and multiple languages. 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 ensured candidates were judged based on international and reliable standards.
Ensuring a fair and scientific assessment of English language testing. The SVAR solution gave us an objective and scalable way to evaluate the impact of training on candidates’ spoken English language skills while the CEFR ratings ensured we evaluated our students consistently across international standards.
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. Candidates could easily complete a 15-minute test irrespective of their network connectivity and the evaluation 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 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.
Micheal Susan and Dell Foundation and Sattva have conducted detailed research and analysis on the effectiveness of their program to improve Spoken English skills of young Indian students using Aspiring Minds’ AI-powered SVAR. You can access the report here.