The “Open Voice” Online Speaking Test system was developed by Kaigai Connection for and in conjunction with the e-learning program at Okayama Prefectural University (OPU). Like other universities, OPU is responsible for preparing its students for life and work in the international community. The teachers and administrators at OPU are aware that students will need to master basic foreign language skills for:
- Presenting at international conferences
- Attending special events
- Travel for leisure
- International volunteer activities…
One of the most effective ways to build real communication ability is through listening and speaking; it is also the most pleasurable way to build skills, make new friends, and gain confidence.
The “Open Voice” Online Speaking Test has been developed with these goals in mind, and has been designed to accommodate different levels of speakers. There are three levels to the test:
- BASIC: questions based on students and their immediate surroundings.
- INTERMEDIATE: more detailed questions about students and their course of study.
- ADVANCED: questions about students’ opinions of current Japanese politics and social trends.
Some benefits of online testing include:
- Fairness in grading because results are assessed anonymously.
- Decreased testing time because multiple students may record at the same time.
- No need for one-on-one testing by instructor.
- Data of recorded test results may be kept to verify assessment grades if necessary.
The “Open Voice” Online Speaking Test was designed by a group of native English speaking ESL instructors and a technical team who are also long-term residents of Japan. This online speaking test has been tailored to Japanese university-level students of English, and will help to prepare them for life in the international community and provide them with hints towards useful, communicative English.