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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

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Turn your School’s Existing Curriculum into an EnglishCentral Custom Course

EnglishCentral can adapt your existing curriculum to blend with the EnglishCentral platform, giving your students speaking and vocabulary practice from their mobile devices as well as from the web. This means you can adopt EnglishCentral for your current classes, without changing your textbook or other materials.

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To do this, we create custom courses for you from our library of over 14,000 videos lessons.  Each lesson is enabled with close activities, vocabulary quizzes, and interactive speaking practice using our IntelliSpeechTM speech assessment system.   These custom courses map to the level and scope and sequence of your current curriculum.  Courses also have custom wordlists students can study in our quiz app on web or on mobile.

Contact us for a Case Study on how Kyoto Sangyo adopted EnglishCentral custom curriculum for web and mobile, mapped to existing curriculum.   This Cash Study covers how EnglishCentral was implemented as part of a general English program at Kyoto Sangyo University. Currently, over 6000 students are using EnglishCentral as part of the English Communication program offered to first and second year students from a variety of faculties. Topics discussed  include:  the reasoning behind the selection of EnglishCentral, initial piloting process, content selection and textbook pairing, student preparation, teacher training, and finally successes and challenges of the overall process.

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Chiba University Case Study

As part of the Global Studies initiative in 2016, over 14,000 students at Chiba University, in over 10 departments, were given access to EnglishCentral.    EnglishCentral surveyed the students who used the system and the responses were extremely positive:

  • 71% of Students said they enjoyed studying on EnglishCentral.
  • 92% of Students said they would continue studying on EnglishCentral after the program ended.
  • 76% of Students said the product was easy to use.
  • 93% of Students said they would recommend to other Students.

The service was particularly helpful in getting students to speak outside of class. Engaged students speaking an average of 30 minutes per week outside of class and getting feedback on their speaking pronunciation and fluency.   Students particularly enjoyed the game dynamic built into the Speaking Features on EnglishCentral, which lets students speak and get instant feedback on their pronunciation and fluency and then try to improve their score.

Check out the features of EnglishCentral here.