Language Education

DigiTala research project utilizes the expertise of language didactics, oral language skills, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages by the University of Helsinki. We design new task types and assessment criteria for assessing oral language skills. In practice, we collect speech samples from students that trained experts will evaluate. By using that material, a speech recognizer will be trained. In the future, the recognizer can evaluate speech performances automatically. In addition, we investigate conceptions about the developed tool by teachers, students, and other operators.

Oral language skills are an essential part of the communicative conception of language skills based on the Finnish National Core Curriculum for General Upper Secondary Schools. However, a section to measure speech is missing at language tests in the Finnish Matriculation Examination. The meaning of the digital tool developed in the project is to make the assessment of oral language skills possible in high-stakes language tests. Digital assessment will be used together with human ratings and it will enhance and standardize language education.

Researchers in the project team are Raili Hildén, Anna von Zansen, and Milla Sneck.