The PTE test is one of the most sought after English tests across the globe, and is acceptable in almost all countries. However, PTE Academics is mainly preferred in countries like Australia, Ireland and New Zealand just like TOEFL is the preferred test for USA. Although a certain percentage of acceptance of PTE Academics is valid in USA, UK and Canada too. But the scoring pattern of PTE raises a lot of questions in the minds of the test-takers, primarily because PTE has an Automated Scoring Technology. It leaves a lot of queries in the minds of the students, as it becomes imperative to have a thorough understanding of the scoring pattern as well as the criteria to be fulfilled to get closer to your target score.
PTE scoring pattern
In PTE, you are assessed in a different manner based on your “Communicative Skills” and “Oral Skills”. Communicative Skills comprises of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, whereas Grammar, Oral Fluency, Pronunciation, Spelling, Vocabulary and Written Disclosure make up the Oral Skills. Both these combine together to give your final, comprehensive score. All the scores of these skills are on a scale of 10-90. Each point takes you closer to the score you are aiming for, similarly loss of even one point can result in you missing the target. Another important point to remember is that PTE has an integrated style of testing where each of the 20 task types of the test have an effect on the final score more than the assessment of a particular skill. So basically, your performance and accuracy in answering every question of the test affects your final score. It is finally calculated on the basis of your performance and attempted questions.
The fully automated scoring system
Pearson gives a detailed and elaborate account of the different technologies it uses in its automated scoring system. PTE Writing is assessed with the help of a tool called “Intelligent Essay Assessor” (IEA) combined with a “Knowledge Analysis Tool ” ( KAT) engine. A mathematical method known as Latent Semantic Analysis ( LSA) is used to analyse the written text, which can simulate the checking in exactly the same way as a human can do. The Speaking test in PTE is assessed by using the Ordinate technology which can recognise various types of speeches, whether they are native or non-native. It can evaluate everything about the speech including the speed, timing as well as rhythm. Thus, PTE tests are examined in an accurate manner by using full proof methods of carefully and logically built systems.
How reliable is PTE automated scoring system
The scoring systems use complex algorithms which are originally trained using human rated samples. Thousands of marks and examples of performance are used to train these automated scoring systems until sufficiently high levels of reliability are achieved. The measurement applied to assess how accurate a language test is known as the “Standard Error of Measurement” or SEM. PTE has the highest reliability estimates for both overall score and communicative skills scores based on the SEM of all major academic English tests.
Automated scoring in PTE: A more objective, impartial and performance based assessment
We all know that a human assessment can be influenced by many factors, especially when a person tries to judge another person’s performance. In automated scoring, this situation does not arise, as a machine is indifferent to a test-taker’s personality and is not affected by human errors like tiredness, irritability, personal bias, etc. So, in PTE, you can be totally sure that you are solely judged on your proficiency in the exam, and not on any other influencing factor. In fact, you are rest assured that your score would not have changed irrespective of the place where you have taken the exam!
PTE being a test of English language proficiency, using the right words at the right place creates the desired impact. And since it is a completely computer based test where the scores are all generated in an automated manner, you can view, assess and understand how much you have scored in which section of the test. The best part is, the integrated scoring system is quite flexible and reliable, and you can even claim for a rescoring of your given test. The test results are available within 5 working days, and you can download the scorecard and send directly to the university or college you are applying for.