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English Language Tests

In today’s corporate environment the need for effective communication has been recognized and accepted. It is understood that communication becomes effective when the people who interact are able to comprehend the requirements of each other in a short span of time. Most often the first link between people is established through verbal communication, to be followed by online or other ways of dealing. Moreover as it is believed that the first impressions are often the last impressions, the goodwill of a company depends on the initial communication links that are established and later maintained by its employees. So the face of the company, that is its employees, needs to be skilled not only technically but also in effective communication methodology.

With growing international avenues both in the industry and services sectors the companies are required to deal with foreign clients. One of the main problems they face in such dealings is the language barriers due to use of different languages in prevalence.
In most overseas dealings it has been observed that English has been widely accepted as the functional corporate language. The ease and its widespread use in most nations has led to the need to recognize the fact that to get benefits in overseas dealings a command over the English language is a must. Employees must be well versed in the grammatical and proper usage of English. Knowledge of both spoken and written English then would become a prerequisite for getting employment in companies especially those engaged in the BPO industry, IT industry or dealing with overseas clients.

 

As a recruiter, companies often face the problem of assessing a candidates command over English as a language. Candidates show technical competence in their areas of competence but most often fare badly when there is a need to use proper English in their work environment.

The need for assessment of employees arises in a company when the employer fear that he may lose on good client accounts due to incompetence of its work force. Most often the demands of clients are very precise and specific. A company builds its goodwill on the competence and performance of its employees. Assessment becomes all the more crucial in case of new recruitments as the company may desire that the new crop of employees actually fit in the with the existing profile of employees.

An individual’s academic qualification may not be an ideal indicator that he is suitable to the requirements of the company. Even though he may be technically suitable for a particular assignment but his adaptability to meet communication requirements may not be sufficient. In such a situation the employer needs to check how best he can know about the skills of his employees.

Given the fact that recruiters need to check for English communication skills, an assessment tool to measure a candidate’s language capability becomes an imperative requirement. To assist companies in this task META- i Technologies has taken the initiative about designing two comprehensive tests, BEAT and ECSA that assess employees or new candidates’ proficiency and command over the English language. META-i understands that people in the workplace need to use English to communicate & share information in various ways.

META-i Technologies Private Limited (www.metaitechnologies.com) is an incubate company of the Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore ( IIM-B) founded in 2001 initially with the intent of providing value added back-end support services to educational institutions. META-i Technologies Private Ltd. specializes in Competence Assessment services which include Skill, Knowledge and Personality Assessments. Over the years, META-i has expanded it’s gamut of assessment services to the Corporate segment too, primarily IT and ITES Companies.

META-i offers BEAT [Business English Assessment Test] that seeks to measure a candidate’s communication skills in the English language. The BEAT suite of tests is specifically designed to measure a candidate's ability with regard to factors that impact business communication. BEAT seeks to measure a candidate’s knowledge of vocabulary & grammatical concepts & the ability to comprehend. META-i’s Language and Communication Skills expert Ms.Aditi Sengupta who also created this assessment tool says “BEAT has a unique approach, in that it seeks to measure the ability to use language effectively rather than simply measure knowledge of the language per se”.

META-i’s highly qualified and experienced panel of Language and Communication Skills experts is responsible for creating BEAT Suite test questions that measure a candidate’s language skills with special emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary and grammatical concepts. BEAT papers typically consist of 25 multiple choice items distributed over three sections on a variety of topics. Candidates are typically allowed 30 minutes to attempt a test. BEAT can be administered online or as a paper and pencil test, in conformance with client requirements. This test is highly recommended for ELT positions in the BPO industry.

After the test completion, the company is communicated the BEAT Test results which consist of scores for each of the three sections and an overall percentage. The number of answer options chosen correctly by candidates in each section determines their scores and requisite percentage. BEAT data in the form of scores for each section and an overall percentage enables clients to decide on the required selection criteria. META-i also offers the ECSA Rubric [English Communication Skills Assessment] that seeks to measure a candidate’s ability to speak and communicate in English. According to META-i, a recruiter may need to assess a candidate’s language capability from a dual perspective:

a) Knowledge of English b) Ability to communicate in English

The ECSA suite of tests is specifically designed to measure a candidate's ability with regard to such factors that specifically contribute to speaking clearly, eloquently and communicating meaningfully. Candidates are assessed on their clarity of speech, expressive ability and interactive competency. Using a synthesis of parameters ECSA measures holistically a candidate’s ability to speak clearly, convey thoughts or information appropriately and engage in meaningful conversation. These parameters are measured on a 6 point hierarchical scale where 6 is the highest rating that a candidate can score. The ECSA then uses the synthesized parameters to measure a candidate's ability and arrive at an average score as all the parameters are weighted equally. ECSA can be administered online, over the phone and in person to suit client needs. “ECSA’s synthesized parameters facilitate holistic and objective assessment. The hierarchical scales ensure that measurement is consistent across levels” says Aditi.

META-i conducts the ECSA with the help of a team of trained & calibrated evaluators. These ECSA evaluators are selected carefully taking academic backgrounds & experience into consideration. ECSA evaluators need to clear several interview rounds besides passing the required tests. Further ECSA evaluators go through an exhaustive training, calibration and certification program which includes both theory and practical sessions. Selected ECSA Examiners are calibrated on various scales so that their scoring remains objective and uniform. ECSA data in the form of ratings or scores and comments is shared with clients enabling them to decide on the required selection criteria. This test is ideal for ELT positions in the BPO industry, specifically for Voice process.

The main benefits to employers and clients of using the BEAT and ECSA tests provided by META-i are an increase in the goodwill of the company, reduction in inefficiencies along with growing business and satisfied clients. META-I is committed to ensuring that BEAT and ECSA data is validated on an ongoing basis. META-I will approach clients periodically to conduct follow-up sessions with a view to collecting data in this regard.
META-i has evolved into an “End-to-end assessment Service provider” providing socialized services in recruitments and admissions management for Corporate and Academia. META-I has successfully delivered approximately 350,000+ assessments both for Academia as well as Corporate till date. META-I is not a placement or recruitment firm. Further details can be checked in their website @ www.metaitechnologies.com

Contributing Writer - Shelly Verma is on the faculty of the Department of Economics at the University of Delhi. She has designed and authored comprehensive online programmes along with supporting books for Managerial economics, Leadership, Mathematics, Cost accounting, Indian economy, MBA examination training programs, GRE and GMAT for Indian and US companies. She is affiliated with various training institutions for Verbal and Logical Reasoning, Group discussions, PDP and also does career counseling. ravishelly2004@rediffmail.com

 



 
   

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