Does your business operate overseas, employ non-native English speakers, or have multinational clients? If any of these descriptors apply to your firm, then Business English training and assessments should be a major component of your corporate training program. From exceptional customer service to a healthy corporate culture, English language training and assessment provides repeatable, measurable, and accurate benchmarks for your multi-lingual team.
What is a language assessment?
A language assessment is a set of prepared questions that provide a benchmark for linguistic skills. Typically used to evaluate the linguistic fluency of a company’s workforce, language assessments examine listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Language assessment provide an accurate measure of strategic language goals and measure language improvement rates among employees. Ultimately, they can test the effectiveness of internal language programs already in place within a company. These exams typically don’t require a proctor or software kit and are often computer-based. Here’s a closer look at each of the major focus areas of a standard language assessment.
Assessment categories: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing
- Listening: Auditory skills are typically measured by having the test-taker listen to a few sentences and then answer questions or paraphrase the content. This helps measure comprehension as well as grasp of vocabulary.
- Speaking: Verbal skills are typically measured by having the test-taker answer a question, read a section of text, or introduce themselves. This measures fluency in conversational English as well as specific terminology related to a given occupation.
- Reading: Reading skills are typically measured by having the test-taker read a text and then answer questions. This helps measure comprehension, speed of reading and comprehension, and grasp of vocabulary.
- Writing: Writing skills are typically measured by having the test-taker respond to short prompt and paragraph-based questions in writing. This measures the writing ability of the test-taker and the amount of time they take to write out an appropriate answer. The reading and writing portions are often timed.
Why are corporate language assessments necessary?
There are many reasons business language assessments are crucial to success, particularly for multinational companies. Language assessments are critical for work interactions and everyday transactions. They are a vital element of ensuring language training meets company objectives. Here are some of the most important reasons business English language assessments should be standardized practice.
1. You’re considering hiring a candidate
One of the most challenging aspects of ongoing operations is scaling and maintaining an efficient workforce. Identifying a candidate who is a good fit for a specific position depends on more than just job qualifications. A hiring team must also look at personal, professional, and educational compatibility of each applicant. Knowing exactly how fluent a candidate is prior to extending a formal offer saves time and resources.
Onboarding personnel is a time and resource investment. It’s possible to minimize money and time investment risk by leveraging language assessment tests during the hiring process. Incorporating both Business English language assessment and training during onboarding will further streamline the transition phase for both external and internal hires, ensuring employees are performing at a consistent level throughout the organization.
2. You need to know the current level of English of an employee
It’s important to know the fluency levels of all employees and one way to do that is through ongoing employee fluency tracking through assessment. Regular assessments provide data to assess ongoing levels of fluency in employees, which then inform company needs for targeted training of individuals and provide data to guide future training programs. To meet the goal of consistent language performance of all employees, ongoing fluency tracking is a must. Virtual language assessments provide fast, accessible data to track company-wide metrics. By removing the human factor from proctor-based tests, the margin for error in virtual language assessment tracking is minimal, further improving the quantifiable data. Utilizing online language assessment tests is a way to accurately measure the success rate of corporate training programs already in place or to identify the need for a corporate training program.
3. You need to evaluate progress an employee has made in English through their language training program
A language training program is an investment and progress of employees should be transparent for the learner and the sponsor. A good corporate English language training and assessment programs ensure that employees are empowered, educated, and current in the terminology of their field. With digitized scores, informational dashboards, and one-on-one feedback, employee progression measurement for language learning has never been easier or more transparent for the learner and sponsoring human resources departments. An effective assessment program will not only provide accurate information on the learner’s language level, but will also inform learning goals and provide training progress tracking, which ensures ability to guarantee return on company investment.
4. You want to assess the English level of your employees to decide on or plan your English training and assessment program
Business English training and assessment can provide generous feedback for the effectiveness of an existing training program. A good assessment and training program will provide accurate data on learner abilities and language goals, tracking the learner’s progress specific toward their identified goals. An online program provides flexibility in scheduling, offering opportunities to manage time commitments. Bridge’s Learning Platform allows for management teams to have full control over the schedule, course offerings, and online learning opportunities. Paired with state-of-the-art security and video conferencing, streamlining your English training programs is quick and easy.
What are the options for integrating Corporate English training and assessments?
There are a variety of corporate English training and assessments options available. Before partnering with a Business English language training company, keep in mind these five factors for identifying an affordable, practical, and effective solution:
- Keep it online. Digital dashboards keep all employee records and data in one place, making program management simple and trackable.
- Make sure it’s flexible. Programs with strict schedules and limited course offerings create unnecessary complications. Flexible class times, expansive course offerings, and on-demand video libraries will streamline the process.
- Choose a recognized, accredited program. Recognition is important in the world of linguistic fluency. Accreditations and affiliations reflect the status of the program.
BridgeEnglish offers fully-online corporate English language training and assessment that is teacher-centric, with focused private instruction for individuals or closed small groups. BridgeEnglish uses the Global Scale of English (GSE), developed by Pearson, to assess the learner’s level, identify specific proficiency targets, and measure learner progress on a local, national, or international level. The GSE correlates with CEFR levels, pinpointing on a scale from 10-90 what needs mastery in skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Standardized Corporate English Language Tests
The ultimate goal may be to have all employees pass a recognized English language exam. The following tests are among the some of the best known in English Language Tests. These exams are recognized as global standards for English fluency and Bridge uses all of these assessment types.
The Linguaskill assessment exam is Cambridge University Press and Assessment’s exam and is administered at certified testing sites. The exam requires proctors who are certified and trained to administer the test. The assessment covers the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Test results are available in 48 hours.
Versant is an automated assessment exam that was developed by two Stanford professors. Leveraging AI technology, this test predicts how human expert interviewers would interpret answers and provides immediate results upon completion. Backed and promoted by Pearson Education, the Versant test has made waves in the AI education world.
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
The Pearson Test of English, or PTE, is trusted by more than 3,000 universities and 70 counties worldwide. The PTE Academic is taken at a testing center or the PTE Academic Online can be taken from home. The PTE is accepted by the Australian, New Zealand, UK, and Canadian governments for work and migration visas. Results are typically posted and sent to the student within 48 hours and provide a learning dashboard that show where the student did well and how they can improve.
The Test Of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is produced by ETS and is a global leader in assessing communication skills for the workplace. The exam covers the four skills categories and is used in businesses in over 150 countries. The TOEIC program produces test score reports that can be used for institutions of higher learning, job applications, and more.
The BridgeEnglish training and assessment suite
The BridgeEnglish language training and assessment program ensures learners and sponsors know learner proficiency levels. The program focuses on both short and long-term goals, as well as learner progress through use of the GSE. This scale provides a performance-based approach to language learning that pairs well with modern data analytics methods. Based on the CEFR, the GSE provides empirical data for each skill category of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Here is more information about the GSE and CEFR.
Global Scale of English (GSE)
Pearson’s Global Scale of English is based on data from 50 countries around the globe, and is intended for teachers to be able to easily and accurately assess their students’ language development over time. For a student, the scale informs them not only of their current English proficiency levels, but also of their progression and areas of need. The Scale is simpler than the CEFR framework, working on a scale of 10-90 that provides details on micro-learning progressions, with coursework, practice tests, and online learning tools available 24/7.
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages(CEFR) is an educational framework that measures ongoing language ability. Used as the international standard for describing language ability, it uses a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered the language. One of the highlights of this system is that it allows employers and educators to see how the students’ skills match up to the various assessment exams offered worldwide.
Find the Corporate English training solution that is right for you
Corporate English training and assessments are crucial for multinational companies functioning in a global economy. A well-executed program is a critical solution for any business hoping to expand its client-base and attract top talent in the industry. There are many factors to consider in choosing the right training and assessment program to meet a company’s language learning needs. A strong program should fit into existing infrastructure and provide management teams with metrics, data, and oversight to ensure return on investment. The ideal English training program will align with internationally recognized assessment exams and will include tools to identify learners’ current levels, strategic learning goals, and progress. Find a program that meets these requirements to ensure a company’s most valuable tool – communication – is effective and consistent throughout your organization.