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being achieved at SpeechSchool.TV (update)
An update on the results being seen from the
Speech Assessments Department
e-centre, Massey University, September 2010
One of the most satisfying aspects of the work we do at SpeechSchool.TV
is grading student Speech Assessments. We get to hear our
students' voices. In some cases we hear about their week
that was, their challenges and their hopes for the future.
For students who come from a different language background, one of the
first targets they seek to reach in an Assessment is the pass score of
65% which signifies a basic level of clarity.
Many ESL (English as Second Language) speakers that start with
SpeechSchool generally achieve scores between 40% to 55% on their first
Assessment. This means they have failed to achieve a clear or
neutral accent and their English may not always be easy to comprehend.
What we are seeing with dedicated students is an average
increase in score of around 10% within their first 3 months with the
Master Speaker - English Accent program. For example, a student
who did an Assessment before starting her program achieved a score of
53%. After working with the program for 6 weeks she took a second
Assessment, and after comparing the two, Michelle Puckeridge (SpeechSchool voice
coach) awarded her a score of 63%.
"This student had improved heaps," Mrs. Puckeridge said. "It is amazing
how much better she sounds. I listened to her old recording and
compared it. I made a comment about how pleased I was to receive her
recording to assess because I could see her progress."
In practice this means that particular student has gone from being
relatively difficult to understand to almost passing the level required
to reach the clarity of most native speakers. Certainly this means
a more confident voice.
At the higher level some advanced second language and native English
speakers undertaking Assessments are seeing scores between 60 to 75%.
The challenge for these students is to move to scores in the 75% to 85%
band which reflects the speech of a an educated or trained English
speaker, and beyond this above 85% which means they have passed to a
professional broadcast standard and would have a voice and mode of
speech that should be suitable for radio or television.
The Speech Assessments are objective since they are graded on specific
measures of correctness of pronunciation and flow of language.
They represent an important way for us to test the effectiveness of our
courses. One thing that is particularly noticeable is the strong
progress students can achieve when they are clearly practicing the
exercises on a daily basis.
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