Tzu-I Wu


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A Preliminary Study on Automated Speaking Assessment of English as a Second Language (ESL) Students
Tzu-I Wu | Tien-Hong Lo | Fu-An Chao | Yao-Ting Sung | Berlin Chen
Proceedings of the 34th Conference on Computational Linguistics and Speech Processing (ROCLING 2022)

Due to the surge in global demand for English as a second language (ESL), developments of automated methods for grading speaking proficiency have gained considerable attention. This paper aims to present a computerized regime of grading the spontaneous spoken language for ESL learners. Based on the speech corpus of ESL learners recently collected in Taiwan, we first extract multi-view features (e.g., pronunciation, fluency, and prosody features) from either automatic speech recognition (ASR) transcription or audio signals. These extracted features are, in turn, fed into a tree-based classifier to produce a new set of indicative features as the input of the automated assessment system, viz. the grader. Finally, we use different machine learning models to predict ESL learners’ respective speaking proficiency and map the result into the corresponding CEFR level. The experimental results and analysis conducted on the speech corpus of ESL learners in Taiwan show that our approach holds great potential for use in automated speaking assessment, meanwhile offering more reliable predictive results than the human experts.