It’s Phonologics’ Automated Pronunciation Screening Test, designed to measure how well non-native English speakers can be understood when they speak English. In this age of globalization, being able to be understood is not just important any more – it’s necessary! People living in an English-speaking country, or working with people where the language they all have in common is English, need to both understand the people they are with and be understood by them.
The Automated Pronunciation Screening Test (APST) is a computerized test designed to measure intelligibility by using audio recordings of specific words and sentences. By intelligibility, we mean the ability to be understood by untrained American English listeners.
APST is artificial intelligence (AI) based software which objectively measures five major components of intelligibility:
- coarticulation – how combinations of consonants and vowels are pronounced
- prosody – the rhythm of the speaker
- phonetics – how the sounds of English differ from those of other languages
- fluency – how smoothly phrases are produced
- enunciation – the emphasis and clarity of syllables
APST is based on new research into AI-based technology, not on older “speech recognition” software. It’s simple and fast, taking less than 15 minutes. It’s inexpensive. The direct costs are low with substantial savings over “manual” testing methods. Perhaps most important, APST focuses on the problem: can the speaker be understood.
APST doesn’t replace pronunciation training. It is a screening tool that provides assessment of a non-native American English speaker’s intelligibility and gives feedback about which areas may be particularly weak for a given student. The test can be used as a one-time assessment of a speaker or in a before and after environment where it can serve as an additional evaluation measure when determining a student’s relative improvement in intelligibility.