Frequently Asked Questions - for Test Administrators

About Versant

  • What types of speaking questions do you have on your test?
  • How does this compare to a typical interview-style test?
  • What is the test development process you use for your speaking tests?
  • How does Versant compare to other English tests?

Scoring Reliability

  • For the Versant English Test, how do you come up with your scores?
  • Why is your Versant English Test scoring scale from 20 to 80? Why not 0 to 100?
  • Do you have data on the reliability of the scoring?
  • Sometimes when you combine all of the sub-scores from a test, the overall score does not seem to match. How can this be?
  • How are the individual sub-scores weighted?
  • Will the reliability of Pearson's technology stay the same or improve?

Test Administration

  • How do I place an order?
    • Up to 25 Versant tests may be purchased on our website. If you would like to order more than 25 tests at a time, please contact our sales representatives at +1 650.470.3600 or
  • Do you have practice tests?
    • Practice tests for our Versant English, Spanish, Aviation English, and other tests are available online for purchase here.
  • What is ScoreKeeper?
    • ScoreKeeper is a web-based tool used by test administrators to manage test batches, download test materials, and view test scores.
  • What if I do not want my students/employees to see their scores?
    • In ScoreKeeper, scores can be locked so they can only be viewed by the test administrator. To lock test scores, log into your ScoreKeeper account and click on "List Batches." Locate the batch of tests and select the box "Locked" in the Score Access column of the page.
  • When is the test considered "used"?
    • A test is considered used after the test taker says his/her name. If a test taker attempts to take the test again, they will receive an error message and will be unable to take the test.
  • How do I download test papers and instructions in ScoreKeeper?
    • After a batch has been created, you can download the test papers and instructions at any time. (Note: You can download the batches multiple times, but each individual test can only be taken once and then the Test Identification Number will be disabled.) To download test materials for batches that have been previously created, follow these steps:
      1. Click on "List Batches."
      2. Click on "Test Materials" located under the batch you wish to download. This will take you to a page where you can download administrative materials including test papers, test instructions, and scores. Click on "Test Papers."
      3. Select the location from which the calls will originate. This will determine the phone number format printed on the test paper. Check the "Print telephone numbers" box to have the phone number printed on the test papers. Click on "Submit."
      4. If you would like each test in the batch to be saved as a separate PDF file, then click the box that says "Print one test paper per PDF file." If you do not check this box, then every test in the batch will be in one large PDF file. (Note: this option will not appear if your batch has only one test.)
      5. Select a language for the test instructions.
      6. A "File Download" box will appear. Hit the "Save" button and pick a location where you will save the batch. You can open the file using Adobe Acrobat. 
  • How do I view test scores in ScoreKeeper?
    • Through ScoreKeeper, you can view and download scores for all completed tests from any batch you have created by following these steps:
      1. Click on "List Batches."
      2. Click on "View Scores" located under Used Tests for the batch you wish view. This will take you to a page where you can view the scores and status all tests in the batch by Test Identification Number, and listen to open questions (if applicable to the test ordered). On this page, you can also click on the link to download the table information into an Excel spreadsheet for administrative purposes.

Test Design

  • How do you know that someone can actually speak in a communicative way?
  • You have a section of the test where people just read out loud. What good is that for determining English speaking skills?
  • There is a section where people repeat sentences. Isn't that just testing memory?
  • The test doesn't include "real" examples of speech. Isn't this artificial? How can you judge someone's real speaking ability?
  • How do you deal with accents? In other words, if someone speaks well but with an accent, how will that affect their score?
  • Does your speaking test perform well across all levels of English?
  • Hesitation, repetition, pauses, even stuttering are normal parts of speech. Does automated scoring recognize this or penalize you for it?
  • With so many varieties of English in the world how can technology determine what is or is not acceptable English?
  • What happens if a test taker answers in another language? Or in gibberish?
  • What do you do if a test taker is silent a large part of the time?
  • What about test takers from Japan? It doesn't seem this test will work for them because English learning and testing in Japan is different.
  • How can you judge someone's speaking skills without specific questions in those areas?

Automated Scoring

  • How can an English speaking test be automatically graded? How is that possible?
  • How does the technology work? How do you use it to do automated grading?
  • Where else is this automated scoring being used?
  • How can we be sure your technology really works?
  • How can you be sure that the automated scoring is accurate?
  • Why would you use automated scoring? What benefits does automated scoring have over human rating?
  • How is your system trained to score test responses?
  • How do machines pick up on the subtlety of meaning?

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