Time: 20 minutes

Bio: Brian Teaman is a professor at Osaka Jogakuin College specializing in CALL and spoken language learning and assessment.

Title: A universal placement test for spoken language using MASLE (Machine-aided spoken language evaluation)


Speaking is the least assessed of all the main skills in a foreign language for many reasons. One of the main reasons is the logistical difficulty of assessing spoken language. The MASLE system increases the options for oral testing by allowing students to record their speech over a typical browser so that the speech can then be assessed. The MASLE system has three different modules: a test delivery module, a human-rater module and a machine-rater module. This presentation will review the different types of tests available and the potential for each of these tests in a placement test. Tests types range from those which prompt for totally predictable utterances to those that are open-ended. The totally predictable utterances can be assessed by the machine or human rater while the open-ended questions can only be assessed by a human rater. The automatic assessment focuses on mainly the segmental aspects of pronunciation. The human rater can focus on any aspect of speaking desired such as fluency, accuracy, vocabulary, grammaticality or more global aspects, such as comprehensibility. I will discuss the results of a pilot test used at Osaka Jogakuin College to assess all students as a part of a placement exam which previously has had no oral component. This oral placement test blends machine and human scoring to produce an evaluation useful for placement within the college EFL curriculum.