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Language institutions need efficient and reliable placement tests to ensure students are placed in appropriate classes. This can be achieved by automating the scoring of pronunciation tests via the use of speech recognition, as its reliability has been shown to be comparable to that of human raters. However, this technology can be costly as it requires development and maintenance, placing it beyond the means of many institutions. This study investigates the feasibility of assessing English second language pronunciation in placement tests through the use of a free automatic speech recognition tool, Google Voice Typing (GVT). We compared human-rated and GVT-rated scores of 56 pronunciation placement tests. Our results indicate a strong correlation between scores for the final rating and for each criterion on the rubric used by human raters. We conclude that leveraging this free speech technology could increase the test usefulness of language placement tests.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: L2 pronunciation ; Google Voice Typing ; automatic speech recognition ; placement tests
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