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ACT and Ordinate Develop Spoken English Exam for International Business

ACT and Ordinate Develop Spoken English Exam for International Business

Customized test measures English language skills needed in the workplace

ACT Inc. and Ordinate Corporation have developed a customized version of Ordinate's fully automated Spoken English Test (SET-10) to measure English language skills needed in the workplace. International businesses are using this exam as part of a battery used to hire qualified applicants for jobs requiring English language skills, and to target training needs for current employees.

Spoken English is one of four English language skills assessed using ACT's English WorkKeys system.

"English-speaking skills are critical to the long-term business success of many international companies," said Richard L. Ferguson, chief executive officer of ACT." The English WorkKeys system measures practical skills that are needed in the workplace."

Jared Bernstein, president of Ordinate Corporation says, "International businesses often have positions within their companies that require English-proficient employees. Ordinate's technology produces a precise measurement of a candidate's ability to speak English. I am confident that this will help ACT's WorkKeys clients make sound hiring and training decisions."

Ordinate's standard SET-10 test was customized with a workplace focus for use with the English WorkKeys system. It is administered by telephone in 10 minutes and scored immediately by a computer. To take a test, the examinee dials a telephone number and interacts with voice recordings in tasks such as reading sentences, repeating sentences, answering short questions, building sentences, and describing business scenarios.

English WorkKeys uses three computer-based exams from ACT - Listening, Reading and Writing - in addition to the speaking exam developed with Ordinate. English WorkKeys also uses the ACT-designed Key Skill Analysis to evaluate the skills required for a specific job position, offers instant test score reports that include links to job requirements, and provides instructional support to help improve individuals' English proficiency.

The English WorkKeys system, including Ordinate's speaking test, is now available in Spain and will become available in other countries later this year.

About ACT Inc.

ACT is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves millions of people in high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses and government agencies with programs and services that have one guiding purpose - to help people achieve education and career goals by providing information for life's transitions. For more information, go to www.act.org.

About Ordinate Corp. and Harcourt Assessment, Inc.

Ordinate Corp., a subsidiary of Harcourt Assessment, Inc., was founded in 1996 to develop advanced language testing systems based on new techniques that use speech recognition to score spoken language proficiency. Ordinate combines recognition of spoken utterances with analysis of the manner of speaking to determine language proficiency and other speaker characteristics.  Ordinate's augmented speech analysis technology sets a new standard in language testing for speed, accuracy, cost and convenience. For more information, go to www.versanttest.com.

Harcourt Assessment is a leading provider of high-quality assessment instruments and testing programs used by educators, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, human resource professionals, admissions and credentialing professionals, and businesses. The company is a unit of Harcourt Education, which is the global education brand of Reed Elsevier Group plc (NYSE: RUK and ENL) -- a world-leading publisher and information provider operating in the science and medical, legal, education and business-to-business industry sectors. Visit Harcourt Assessment online at www.harcourtassessment.com.

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