In December, innovative adaptive English language test will be released, potentially shaking up the way English as a Second Language (ESL) education is taught in classrooms across Australia.
Envoy, unveiled by IDP Education, a leading provider of international education services, combines the expertise of linguists with advanced AI technology to offer a true assessment of an individual’s ability to use English in real-life situations.
The online assessment evaluates proficiency in four key language skills: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking, offering a more personalised, engaging, and enjoyable learning experience for both English language teachers and students.
Below, The Educator speaks to Lauren McSwain, Envoy’s Marketing Manager to find out more.
TE: How does Envoy align with the current English language curricula in Australian schools, and can it be seamlessly integrated into the existing learning framework to support ESL (English as a Second Language) students?
Envoy can be adapted to different curricula as it draws on an international current framework of language competencies and domains (i.e. Common European Framework of Reference for languages, known as CEFR) that outlines achievement of language worldwide in different contexts. The test items are at different levels based on the Eaquals Core Inventory, which was developed in alignment with the CEFR. The inventory is designed to cater to the needs of language learners worldwide coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Envoy’s flexibility is complemented by its multi-stage adaptive technology. Each multiple-choice section of the test, including the listening and reading sections, is internally adaptive. Additionally, depending on the sections chosen, the final level of one section may be used as the starting level of another. Adherence to a broad framework of language competencies coupled with adaptive testing allows Envoy to be used in different learning frameworks.
TE: What kind of training and resources will IDP provide to Australian teachers for effectively utilising Envoy in their classrooms, especially for those who may not be familiar with AI-based language assessment tools?
One of Envoy’s key strengths is the simplicity of the user dashboard. The dashboard is easy to navigate, enabling teachers to set up and send links to the test in a matter of minutes, saving precious time on administration tasks. IDP will work closely with each school, providing training on the platform. Support materials and detailed demonstrations will be available.
TE: Given the diverse needs of non-native English speakers in schools, how does Envoy adapt its assessment and feedback to cater to students with varying levels of English proficiency and different learning styles?
Envoy is designed using the CEFR framework and the Eaquals inventory which have been developed with a focus on learners of English as an additional language (/non-native English users).The test uses multi-stage adaptive technology to present learners with questions and tasks that best match their level. This allows for more focused assessment and more accurate diagnosis. The test is composed of multiple-choice and open-ended questions, which require extended answers to assess a range of competencies and knowledge. Students are rated on knowledge of language, including grammar, vocabulary and cohesion via audio clips and written texts, and productive language ability via open-ended speaking and writing tasks. The test includes sections which test language knowledge, receptive skills, and productive skills. Testing different aspects of language proficiency allows teachers to identify areas most in need of improvement and to shape curriculum and instruction accordingly.
TE: Can you elaborate on the measures Envoy takes to ensure the privacy and security of student data, and how does the platform support the wellbeing of students who might feel anxious or stressed about language testing?
We limit data collection to that which allows us to support students when taking the test. We take our responsibility for collecting and protecting data seriously. We have a combination of physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards in place to protect the data collected. We understand taking an English test can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for students. Envoy has been designed to be as approachable and enjoyable as possible to relieve some of this stress for students. Some examples of this are:
- The adaptive component assesses students’ ability in real-time and adjusts the questions, ensuring students are tested at their level of competency, creating a less stressful, more enjoyable experience for each student.
- We’ve designed the instructions to be easy to understand and simple to follow throughout the whole test so students stay on track and perform at their best.
- Envoy tests are simple to set up and use – students will receive a link from their teacher and can access the test simply by clicking the link. This removes stress related to downloading software and performing system checks
Envoy is scheduled for launch in December and will be accessible in most countries around the world.