VietTESOL International Convention, VietTESOL International Convention 2018

Font Size: 
The Future of English Language Assessment Tools: Humans or Machines Testing
Thu Kim Pham, Huyen Thanh Le

Building: A11
Room: 2nd floor Reading Room-A11 Building
Date: 2018-10-12 02:00 PM – 02:45 PM
Last modified: 2018-09-16


English language assessment plays a vital role in rating the proficiency of a learner. The result of current methods of testing are expected to mirror the level of language proficiency in the learner, with outcomes crucially linked to other important issues like the eligibility to study abroad or migrate into an English-speaking country. As a consequence, an English assessment tool must be highly accurate, valid and reliable. While such traditional English examinations as IELTS or TOEFL require the involvement of examiners (real humans) to evaluate the competency of test takers, the newly-born PTE or Pearson Test of English uses only computers to do the evaluation tasks. However questions remain as to just how reliable this new development is, and can humans be trusted? There are also some doubts on human weaknesses in testing procedures, which prompts the urgency of the evaluation between the two different methods of assessment. The paper analyzes IELTS and PTE for flaws in both systems and argues the case for the retention of human involvement when, inevitably, language competency is completely computer-evaluated.


Language assessment, IELTS, PTE, Human and computer testing , future foreign language assessment tool