Accent Reduction Training Association




 
Newsweek Magazine

"Those with a less identifiable regional accent, such as that found in the Midwest, tended to get recommended for higher profile and often higher paying jobs in public relations and marketing."

ARTA Assessment - FAQ's

Who needs to take the accent assessment?

           
The accent assessment is required for all international students who are non-native speakers of English. Students must score a 35% or higher before being offered a program study option with an ARTA Trainer. Students who achieve less than 35% are recommended for Basic and Intermediate level classes.

How do you define non-native speaker?


A speaker of a language other than English who has spoken that language as the primary language since childhood.

How often is the accent assessment offered?


The assessment is given only three times a year: in Fall, Winter, and Summer semesters. Contact the program manager for exact dates.

How do I register for the accent assessment?


Approximately two weeks before each assessment period the Program Manager sends registration information and links to each prospective student. In most cases, the PM emails this information to each student. If you do not receive a registration form two weeks prior to the assessment period or if you have other questions about registration, contact us.

Where is the accent assessment given?

           
Each assessment is given online in the virtual classroom or at a location, depending on your area. 

How much does the accent assessment cost?

           
Please click the Get Started Now button below to find the current cost. 

If I take the accent assessment and do not achieve the score I need, how soon can I take the assessment again?

           
We recommend that you improve your accent for at least four months and that  you enroll in courses offered by ARTA to continue language training before the next assessment. If you have not taken an Accent Reduction Program course or Individualized Instruction in the semester of the assessment, you may not be permitted to take the assessment.

Is there a limit to how many times I can take the accent assessment?


There is currently no limit, but students who retake the assessment only when they feel they are well prepared and can perform will do best. Taking the    assessment repeatedly without careful preparation can result in poorer performances as student anxiety levels increase with each failing performance. If you have failed previously and have not taken an Accent Reduction Programs
course or Individualized Instruction in the semester of the assessment, you may not be permitted to take the assessment. Students who postpone their enrollment beyond the period of late registration will need to reapply and retake the assessment. Assessments must be taken within 14 days of
the date of registration. We require 24 hours notice for rescheduling all sessions or a reinstatement fee may apply.

Are there assessment procedures or fees that I need to observe?

         
Submit your completed registration form prior to the deadline. You do not need to bring a pencil or paper for the test. Your answers will be monitored for later reporting and scoring in a written report to be purchased separately.

What is the accent assessment?
         
The accent assessment is an oral proficiency test that measures how well you understand and express yourself in spoken English. The key to remember is that assessment-takers are scored on how comprehensible they are, which usually revolves around how natural they sound. Natural does not mean perfect, but it does mean that the assessment-taker should be easy to understand even for a listener with little or no experience with non-native speakers. In the assessment, your responses to questions that you hear are monitored. The responses are then rated by trained evaluators.The timed assessment consists of 75 short phrases, 39 sentences, drilling exercises and  takes 40 minutes. It is designed to evaluate your American accent proficiency so you will be asked questions about many topics, including those unrelated to your profession or field of study. You will listen to the trainer through a microphone headset which records your responses digitally in a computer-based program. Once the assessment begins, you must keep pace with the timed questions. The time allotted for each section is provided by the  trainer before the section begins.

The ARTA assessment is administered in a computer-based online classroom, on the phone or in person environment, and you will be speaking into a microphone. You will be taking the assessment one-to-one with your trainer. When you attend, keep all outside interruptions to a minimum, (cell phone ringers off) which is distracting while speaking or responding in the classroom environment.

What kinds of questions appear on the ARTA accent assessment?

          
There are several different forms of the accent assessments, but all have similar types of questions: A warm-up with general questions. This section will not be scored. It is important, however, that the assessment-taker reply to the questions to make sure that the recording system is working properly.
A reading section, where the assessment-taker describes a place to other event. A story-telling section where the assessment-taker describes a series of events and tells the story based on the topics. Follow-up questions based on the story. Comment and opinion statements, often related to the assessment-taker's field of study. A chart or graph-reading section, where the assessment-taker explains the information given on a chart or graph. Follow-up questions based on the chart or graph. A schedule with modifications where the assessment-taker explains the schedule and the changes.

If I do not finish an answer or have extra time left and have nothing more to say, will I receive a low score on the accent assessment?

           
Not necessarily. If you address the question well and run out of time, this will not affect your score. If you have extra time but have answered completely, again, this will not affect your score.

Suggestions for ARTA accent assessment-takers during the test

           
Relax and get plenty of sleep the night before the test. Relaxed students tend to perform better on this assessment. Focus on being as natural-sounding as possible. It is better to sound smooth, even if you make a few pronunciation mistakes than to speak very slowly and haltingly with no pronunciation errors. Speaking clearly is better than speaking quickly; those who speak very quickly are harder to understand than those who speak smoothly but a bit more slowly.


Before the ARTA assessment


Talk in English as much as possible. Getting plenty of informal speaking practice will help you feel more relaxed and sound more natural. Practice giving directions from a map, telling stories from current events, and describing a chart or graph (see materials section below). Practice with a timer so that you gain a feeling for how long 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and 90 seconds are. Pay attention to the time allotted for each question. Bring a watch with a second hand so that you can see how much time you have left. Watches that beep are not allowed. Listen to native speakers and notice how they communicate. How do they organize their ideas? What types of discourse techniques do they use? How do they adjust the formality of their language for different situations?

After the ARTA assessment


Congratulate yourself. Your score will be emailed to you within a week of the test. If you do not receive your score from your trainer within 10 days of your test date, first contact your trainer, then call to speak with a Program Manager. Scores will often be given during the follow-up session.

What will my assessment results mean?

           
If you receive a score of 35 or above (Pass), you may be recommended for an ARTA Program. For scores below 35, you should continue language training. ARTA's Basic and Intermediate Programs and Group courses, offered during Fall and Spring terms, are described on our web site along with a recommended sequence of courses to follow.

Can I practice for the test?

            
Yes, practicing for the test may be beneficial. Even if you feel your oral skills are good, you can practice. This type of test has a particular format which may be unfamiliar. Practicing will help you feel more comfortable on the day of the test. You can practice by Reading the information for the Tips for Accent Reduction on our web site. Note that the while the Accent Tips has listening skills, versions of assessments do not. Subscribe to the ARTA Mentor Membership services accessible in our Member Login Portal (MLP), which include: Official Practice Assessment Packet (MP3 of Assessment and accompanying assessment pdf's) Practice Assessments 1 and 2 from past ARTA assessments (MP3 with recordings of each assessment, with students responses. Practice Assessments 1 and 2 pdf's

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LOCATIONS ARE NOT OPEN TO PROVIDE THESE MATERIALS.

Consulting the ARTA Training Guide in the Members area. This guide is available for purchase on our website. Be sure to use the 2017 version of this guide, not the new version. The new version has listening comprehension sections that students do not need to practice for the assessment.


Who rates assessments and how are they rated?


The ARTA assessment is rated by trained and certified ARTA trainers. Each assessment is rated by at least two different raters, who do not know the score that each other has give to your assessment. The assessment is rated not only for pronunciation but for how well you use grammar, vocabulary, stressing and intonation.

If I pass the assessment, should I continue to take the Basic  or Intermediate level courses?


The assessment is a minimum standard for learning at ARTA, so students are  encouraged to continue taking courses for personal and career development. Cost varies by program. Review the Accent Reduction Programs on our website and the Corporate Training page for additional learning and job related training and workshops.

Are courses offered for prospective students who do speak English as a native language?


Yes, there is a progression of courses that prospective ARTA students can take to improve their English communication skills. Corporate Training Program courses, offered during fall and spring terms, are described on our web site along with a recommended sequence of courses to follow.

Besides the assessment, is there a way to satisfy the ARTA accent reduction proficiency requirement?


Yes, under some circumstances students can take the Oral Pronunciation Assessment (OPA). In this assessment, the candidate speaks briefly on a topic in his/her field, and participate in a simulated job interview. It is rated by at least two trainers and videotaped. (in person only) For information about this interview and which students may qualify to take it, please contact the Program Manager (PM).