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EnglishCentral Launches New Speech Assessment Platform with Kirihara

Tokyo, Japan – June 13, 2019. EnglishCentral, the leading provider of online English conversations solutions, and Kirihara Shoten, a leading provider of textbooks to the high school market in Japan, today announced the launch of the latest version of EnglishCentral’s AI-powered speaking assessment platform, IntelliSpeech℠ .

The new version of IntelliSpeech℠ is able to accurately grade and provide feedback not only on students’ pronunciation, but also on students’ word choice, vocabulary usage, syntax and even task completion. IntelliSpeech℠ can do this kind of complex assessment as it seamlessly combines state-of the-art automated speech assessment with human-assisted assessment.

The new platform was deployed this month with several of Kirihara’s highschool customers in Japan. The platform gives students sample test scores on speaking tests similar to those given as part of the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency, the most popular speaking assessment test given in Japan, taken by an estimated 3 million students per year. Significantly, in addition to test scores, the platform also gives detailed feedback on students’ spoken answers so they know the areas to practice and improve. Teachers using the new platform now have the opportunity to administer weekly practice tests for the Eiken exam and other English assessment programs, and get the benefit of accurate assessments, including detailed feedback, within 48 hours.

Most importantly, the use of IntelliSpeech℠ speech assessment makes the test affordable to all public school children in Japan. There are more than 4,800 high schools in Japan and very few have native English speaking teachers. Bringing low cost speaking solutions into the high school market fits well with the Japanese government’s plan to introduce Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into the classroom and, for the first time beginning in 2020, to incorporate an English speaking test into college entrance exams.

“We are very excited to be working with Kirihara as our channel to market for our new IntelliSpeech℠ assessment platform,” said Hirofumi Matsumura, General Manager of EnglishCentral Japan. “We are at a real inflection point in the English learning market, given the focus on speaking by the K-12 market reacting to the upcoming changes in the college entrance exams. “

“This latest product deepens our partnership with EnglishCentral,” added Masaya Monma, CEO of Kirihara Shoten. “We already offer EnglishCentral’s advanced speech solutions to over 60,000 high school students, and we look forward to being able to provide cutting edge test solutions to high school students across the country with this next-generation AI platform.”

About Kirihara Shoten:
Kirihara Shoten is a leading publisher with a long tradition of excellence in the Japanese education market. Kirihara Shoten is a particularly major player in the high school market in Japan, with a leading position in both the English Language teaching and Japanese Language teaching segments. Some of its best-selling titles include FACTBOOK for grammar reference, Empower for grammar study and PRO-VISION and WORLD TREK for high school students studying English. Learn more at www.kirihara.co.jp.

About EnglishCentral:
EnglishCentral is the most widely adopted online English language conversation platform in the world, changing the way students and professionals across the globe learn to speak English. Adopted by over 500 universities, schools and corporations in over 100 countries, the company delivers interactive, video-based language learning experiences for both self-study and one-on-one tutoring, providing one of the most widely adopted and complete platforms for practicing and mastering English conversation online. Its extensive library of videos lessons, proprietary IntelliSpeech℠ speech assessment technology, and pre-built course modules guarantee results for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

EnglishCentral Contact:
Hirofumi Matsumura, General Manager
Phone: +815038023236