ISCA International Workshop on Speech and Language Technology in Education (SLaTE 2009)

Wroxall Abbey Estate, Warwickshire, England
September 3-5, 2009

Automatically assessing the oral proficiency of proficient L2 speakers

Pieter Müller (1), Febe de Wet (2,4), Christa van der Walt (3), Thomas Niesler (1)

(1) Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering; (2) Centre for Language and Speech Technology (SU-CLaST); (3) Department of Curriculum Studies, Stellenbosch University;
(4) HLT Research Group, CSIR Meraka Institute, South Africa

We consider the automatic assessment of oral proficiency for advanced second language speakers. A spoken dialogue system is used to guide students through a reading and a repeating exercise and to record their responses. Automatically-derived indicators of proficiency that have proved successful in other studies are calculated from their speech and compared with human ratings of the same data. It is found that, in contrast to the findings of other researchers, posterior scores correlate poorly with human assessments of the reading exercise. Furthermore, the repeating exercise is found both to be more challenging and to provide a better means of automatic assessment than the reading exercise for our test population.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Müller, Pieter / Wet, Febe de / Walt, Christa van der / Niesler, Thomas (2009): "Automatically assessing the oral proficiency of proficient L2 speakers", In SLaTE-2009, 29-32.