How the current language assessment tests in India are hindering the growth of individuals and businesses.
Eitan Noiman, CEO at Speaknow, discusses the drawbacks of the current language assessment techniques in India.
English proficiency is extremely important in the corporate world, with English serving as the unofficial official language of India Inc. The competition for open jobs has become fiercer with the current economic difficulties. As a result, it has become even more important for candidates to hone their English language skills to stay ahead of the curve. Strong communication skills are extremely helpful in a global, competitive market.
Effective language assessment is crucial for businesses to ensure their workforce has the necessary communication skills. However, problems with tests and testing processes result in inconclusive and inaccurate assessments of language skills.
The most important challenges plaguing language assessment in India are:
Lack of accessibility
Many companies have moved to remote or hybrid work models since the pandemic’s start. This also suits employees, as they prefer flexibility in the work location. However, this convenience has not been extended to taking assessment tests. Requiring test takers to travel to designated centers on specified dates makes the testing process inconvenient and decreases testing access, especially for rural areas.
In India, very few platforms currently offer Artificial Intelligence (AI) based comprehensive assessment solutions. Besides this, technical requirements in India, such as authentic user verification, security, and connectivity, lag behind global standards. This makes the entire process tedious and inefficient.
Language tests in India are expensive, which reduces accessibility, not only for individuals but also for many academic institutions and SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses). The high cost of effective testing means that candidates have less access, especially those with fewer financial resources. Many companies waste time, money, and resources on interviewing and hiring candidates who don’t have the necessary English skills. Otherwise, they reduce their candidate pool to those who can independently afford the tests. Larger companies often end up losing a lot with mis-hires due to inaccurate tests.
Lack of comprehensiveness
In India, language assessment tests focus only on a single aspect of language. They either assess Speaking or Reading Comprehension. Many tests assess only one part of these proficiencies, such as pronunciation, fluency, or grammar. This process is sub-optimal and doesn’t measure the candidates’ abilities to engage in job-related English communication, which includes all four modalities – reading, speaking, writing, and listening.
Lack of International standardization
Language assessment tests provide an accurate picture of the test taker’s language ability. The test must be accepted internationally and follow a standardized format to achieve this. Most tests in India are not aligned with such standards and fail to fulfill the purpose, leading to incomparable test results.
English assessment tests in India are peppered with issues that cause obstacles to Indian workers with global ambitions. In this digital era, sub-optimal tests often fail to serve their purpose for both candidates and employers.