Pearson Test of English (PTE) is the leading computer-based test with over 250 test centers around the world in 50 plus countries. PTE Academic 79 Plus and Official Practice’ App will help test takers in preparing for the language proficiency test.
Pearson, the world’s leading digital learning company, on October 14, launched a set of resources to aid learners in effectively preparing for the PTE Academic. The company unveiled PTE Academic 79 Plus, a step-by-step guide to all task types in PTE Academic to enabled test takers achieve their desired score. Pearson also introduced the PTE Academic Official Practice’ app as a digital resource.
PTE Academic 79 plus is a user-friendly guide with simple and lucid language, comprising of more than 150 examples along with detailed explanations as well as two full-length practice tests. This comprehensive book has taken of the various needs of PTE aspirants.
The newly launched app includes a Q&A section which will give detailed, section-wise information about the test, the process, and the criteria for score. The content available on the app is a combination of item/question information, practice and key information for test preparation. The Study Planner feature in the app assists the user by creating a calendarized plan, as per time available before the exam.
Speaking on the release of the PTE resources, Mr. Vikas Singh, Managing Director, Pearson India, said, “Pearson is celebrating 175th anniversary this month, becoming one of the longest-serving publication businesses globally. We are doing well along all verticals in India and expecting more investments after the recent CEO’s visit to the country.
Coming to Pearson Test of English (PTE), I would say this is the one product which has been leading the digital journey of Pearson. If this product is measured in terms of test takers’ experiences or the huge endorsements by some of the high commissions, the result is an excellent combination of the two, which speaks about why we are the most popular language proficiency test globally.”
Talking about Pearson Test of English during his visit to India, Ms. Freya Thomas Monk, Senior Vice President, English Assessment and PTE Academic said, “Along with 175 years of Pearson, we are also celebrating 10th birthday of PTE. For 10 years, we have led the way in terms of computerized testing and have tested an enormous number of people. Subsequently, we have learnt why we are the most secure and accurate language proficiency testing platform with best experiences for test takers.
PTE Academic: Relevant, Reliable, and Truly International
Highlighting PTE Academic’s performance in India, Ms. Monk said, “We are pleased with PTE Academic’s huge success in India. The PTE Business is growing at a robust pace of 30 percent year-on-year in India. India is a massive market for us, but we keep in view even the smaller or emerging markets, a reason why PTE today operates in over 50 countries around the world. This number keeps going up as we are flexible to upcoming demands.
If we see an area of demand, either in India or in a new country, we will open a test center there. Although opening a new test center takes a little time, we are very open to matching where people to where they can take the test.”
The test is delivered at Pearson run test centers and is completely end-to-end digital test providing greater accuracy and security. Speaking on the security aspect, Ms. Monk said, “We invest huge amount of money, time, and effort on the security aspects of our tests. Why do we care so much about security? We care about it because we actually care about test takers and want them to know how secure the testing environment is and that the scores really mean something.
Credibility and validity of scores can’t be attained without security. The security of tests are a major concern for governments and universities because they want to know whether the score they are given is right. Moreover, PTE also has a stamp of approval of the UK regulator, so the test taker should know that the scores they are receiving are of high quality.”
PTE also ensures that the English test takers are learning is relevant. The PTE content is designed to match the real life use of English. The test items make sure the learners are blending listening and reading, speaking and writing, and making it whole up like people do every day.
Ms. Monk explained, “The test content is very analogous to day-to-day life and is formed out of real life examples, i.e. from magazine articles, lectures, and other information from different sources. We make sure that we are putting together a really authentic content. Moreover, the test and its content are absolutely international because we believe that English is truly global and our test reflects that. All major English accents are covered in the tests.”
Speaking on the practice app, she said, “What goes around the test is also very important. We need to support our learners around the test as well if they are to take the test confidently and comfortably. So, we have the PTE Academic Official Practice app. It’s absolutely free and helps the test takers day-to-day around the test. This is an important part of strategy that how we support people in getting familiar with the test.”
PTE Academic: Structured Around Sound Techno-linguistic Backbone
In PTE, there is machine scoring, which means responses are scored objectively and consistently with no regional variances in standards. PTE assesses English skills in more ways than any other tests; so students will be more likely to cope. Where your students come from or what they look like will not impact scores and PTE treats regional accents equally.
Mr. KJ Singh, CTO & SVP, Assessment & Information, Pearson underlined the strong technology that backs up the PTE. Mr. Singh said that there are two important milestones in a test taker’s journey – he takes the test and he gets the report – and what happens in the middle is called scoring that is done by machines. “We are the very first company to have done this kind of test and assessment for the last several years, 10 years for PTE alone. In other words, our history in using automated scoring, based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), goes way beyond 10 years,” he said.
Mr. Singh gave quite a lucid account of why PTE uses AI and explained in a much jargon-less manner all that goes into making machines perform the accurate and reliable assessment of language proficiency. Reliability and accuracy are two important parameters that are attained using AI and letting machines perform the task of recording the responses and assigning scores in the test.
“By reliability, we essentially mean that scores are independent of when and where a test taker is taking the test. In other words, the two scores will match if a test taker takes the test on two different days, or if the test taker takes the test on the same day with two different markers, or the test taker takes the test on two different days on two different markers,” said Mr. Singh.
He also explained how data sets collected over a period of time are crucial in making machines capable of providing such reliable and accurate scores. The actual student data, collected over time in terms of accents, grammar, fluency, enunciation, pronunciations along with enormous variations, are first marked by humans to make them structured which are then fed to machines to learn using LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis). Then both machine and human markers are run through various data samples in parallel to finally reach a stage where machines are declared fit to do the actual task.
“The entire process of machine-based assessment is a continuous improvement where new data set from new test takers are being collected, structured, and being fed to machines continuously to make them more reliable and accurate with time,” said. Mr. Singh.
PTE Academic is accepted by universities and colleges around the world including by Harvard Business School, Yale University, INSEAD and London Business School. It is accepted by 100 percent of Australian and New Zealand universities and by a growing number in the USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Germany. The test can also be used for all Australian and New Zealand visa and migration applications.