Language Technology and Work-Readiness Testing

pencil, multiple choice, exam, scantronInside Higher Ed recently reported that employers in India are increasingly using AMCAT (Aspiring Minds’ Computer Adaptive Test), a well-established workplace readiness test that over 1.5 million Indians have taken to apply and/or qualify for employment. Over 600 companies within India are using AMCAT—and this includes some multinational US-based companies like Accenture and Deloitte. How the companies choose to use the results is up to them, and some are setting “standardized cutoff” scores.

Ultimately, this levels the playing field for students who may not have attended schools as prestigious as their peers but have developed an impressive set of skills relevant to the global workplace. What are those skills, exactly? AMCAT is a standardized test that evaluates “aptitude in English, quantitative ability and logic,” as well as personality and soft skills. In other words, language ability is one of the primary factors the test takes into consideration.

Work-Readiness Testing Going Global?

Inside Higher Ed notes that “there is a growing market for such workplace readiness tests in the U.S.” and cites ACT’s WorkKeys as one of the frontrunners. AMCAT is looking to break into the US market as well, and there are numerous other competitors on their heels.

How Language Learning Supports Work-Readiness Test Scores

English-language ability is central to AMCAT scores—especially relevant for EFL learners. Providing EFL students with round-the-clock language-learning support via cloud-based software may become critical to improve their language skills in ways that work for their busy lives.

As workplace readiness tests become part of general hiring practices around the world, graduates will need solid, verifiable language skills—regardless of whether companies are testing for English-language ability or aptitude in other languages.

More foreign language study may also help students score better in other subjects evaluated by the AMCAT. According to a recent article exploring the link between foreign language study and improved standardized test scores, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has found that students “who study a foreign language, even when this second language study takes time away from the study of mathematics, outperform students who do not study a foreign language and have more mathematical instruction during the school day.”

AMCAT and many similar tests employ adaptive technology while testing. Ensuring students have some experience with online, adaptive language-learning may better prepare them for success with these tests.

All considered, increasing student access to language study and providing regular exposure to adaptive technology may be one of the best ways to prepare students for the global workforce—especially considering the role workplace readiness testing could play in future career success.

How might workplace readiness testing effect your institution? Does your institution partner with any local companies who use (or are considering) workplace readiness testing now?

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