IATEFL 2019: Three technology-based assessment talks

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technology in assessment

IATEFL 2019 kicks off on Monday and we can’t wait! 

Before the big event, we wanted to share with you some of the last remaining Pearson talks that will take place over the coming week.

Check out the full programme and keep up-to-date on our dedicated IATEFL 2019 page.

The following three sessions are all about using technology in assessment. You will find out how tech solutions like artificial intelligence can benefit both teachers and students, not only saving time but also helping to improve the learner’s skills and enhancing the learning experience.

Here’s what you’ll learn at each of the three talks!

A new generation of assessment, for a new generation of learners with Jacqueline Martin

Location: Room 4a | Time: 11:55am-12:25pm | Date: Tuesday 2nd April 2019

Assessment can be a powerful tool to help learners reach their goals – if used to inform planning and teaching rather than just to report level. However, nowadays assessment can be a burden for teachers who spend too much time marking assignments and exams. What’s more, it often doesn’t engage students or serve their needs either.

Introducing English Benchmark

This talk introduces a new tablet-based test, English Benchmark, specifically designed to engage and motivate young learners on the devices they prefer. It was created by Pearson with the incentive to offer independently-verified assessments with automated marking. These innovative tests bridge the gap between course-based assessments and high-stakes formal exams.

We will cover how a new generation of English language testing largely benefits teachers and learners. What sets these tests apart is that the testing methods include state of the art technology and the content embodies gamification in its delivery.

We will discuss how Pearson’s patented automated scoring technology, a combination of advanced speech recognition and exam grading technology, has led the way in the field of language testing. Moreover, we will see how it has reduced the normal administrative burden of test delivery and marking.

Digital assessment tools are relatively new in this field and new features are continuously being developed. However, they already serve as a useful source of additional data, save time, remove subjectivity of teacher marking and have been demonstrated to be more motivating for young learners than formal paper tests.

You will walk away from this workshop with answers to common questions that teachers have, such as: How do I build formative assessment into my teaching? When/How often? How does it fit with my course? What do I do with the results?

Jacqueline Martin started her career as a Primary teacher and TEFL teacher before moving into publishing. She has 17 years of experience in editorial/materials development and is now a member of the GSE team at Pearson.

Using automated scoring technologies in different learning contexts with David Booth

Location: Room 13 | Time: 3:55pm-4:25pm | Date: Tuesday 2nd April 2019

What role does artificial intelligence have in language assessment? How can it benefit teachers and students?

This talk will address some of the myths surrounding the use of artificial intelligence to assess students’ language proficiency, especially their spoken language proficiency. It will show why this type of assessment is much more reliable than traditional methods. We will explore this by contrasting the implementation of automated scoring algorithms in two different contexts of learning: Academic English and the Young Learner classroom.

We will look at the validation work required to ensure that test items and test instruments are assessing students appropriately using advanced technology and automated scoring algorithms. Furthermore, we will explore how the outcomes of these assessments can be used to power learning and how to implement this learning.

The talk will also introduce new developments in testing by looking at data and feedback from pilot studies.

Come with a critical eye and ask any questions you think relevant to the presenter.

David Booth is the Director of Test Development, English Assessment at Pearson. David’s main expertise is in the development and revision of tests. He has given presentations at major conferences including EALTA, IATEFL and AILA on this theme.

Artificial intelligence: changing the face of international language testing with Dr. Rose Clesham

Location: Room 3a | Time: 4:20pm-4:50pm | Date: Thursday 4th April 2019

Artificial intelligence seems to be in the news on a daily basis these days. But how is it applied to language testing, how does it work and why is it effective? How can English language skills be tested with high validity, reliability and lack of bias? How can we obtain almost immediate feedback, accurate scoring and diagnostic information?

This talk will describe how research and advances in AI technologies have resulted in the development and wide-scale use of PTE Academic tests, which assess and measure oral, aural, reading and written skills, on a global scale.

We will demonstrate that, contrary to public perception, human interaction and judgment are very much present when automated marking technologies are used. The use of AI allows the judgement of hundreds of human assessors to work in unison. This way, we increase validity in terms of broader content representation and remove bias and low-reliability issues. These technologies also significantly reduce teacher workload and release valuable time to facilitate personalised teaching and learning.

The session will give teachers confidence that assessments using AI replicate the most expert human judgements. It will also prove that AI allows teachers to spend more time teaching and working with their students.

Attendees do not need any prior knowledge of assessment systems and AI. Rose will explain all. Let’s open up the black box of AI in educational assessment!

Rose is the Director of Academic Standards and Measurement, working in Global Assessment at Pearson. Her career started in teaching, and teacher education, before moving on to governmental positions, responsible for running national assessment programmes in the UK.

Are you coming to IATEFL 2019? Get to know our authors, chat with experts and meet colleagues from around the world! 

Find out more about what’s going on through our dedicated IATEFL 2019 page.

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