Our familiarity with artificial intelligence (AI) and the role of algorithms in our lives is increasing, but the intrigue remains around the validity and fairness of how machines are scoring online assessments—are they accurate, are they fair? The key to the success of AI and computer-based tests is to build the infrastructure from the ground up, according to Dr Rose Clesham, Director of Academic Standards & Measurement (English Assessment) at Pearson. The systems that Pearson’s English language tests are built on are highly sophisticated algorithms, and those algorithms are turning computer information back into a form of human scores, notes Dr Clesham.
“When we train our engines, the human scorers give pieces of work – lots and lots of pieces of work – and they score them in a human way and provide a human score, and that then is used to train or to start the journey of training our systems.”
With globalisation, automation and advancements in technology, future skills have never been more important.
We gained exclusive access to Pearson’s Jason Gregory (International Director, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships) to gather his insights on the importance of future skills and the crucial role educators play in preparing learners for future workforce demands.
So, what’s inside the eBook?
Working together means the world can be a more resilient, capable and inclusive place: the role of all stakeholders working in unison (learners, educators, business leaders and policy makers)
Baking future skills into modern curriculum to enable an ‘always learning’ mindset
The role of educators in developing the future skills of learners
Remaining competitive with up-to-date future skills … plus more!
Beat your competitors to it — download your free copy today.
With the ever-increasing importance of English as a global language, the governments of Vietnam and Thailand have policies in place to boost the English language proficiency of their populations.
And as the Thai and Vietnamese populations embark on their English language learning journey, they will inevitably encounter the checkpoint of needing to test and prove their English skills to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Enter the Pearson Test of English, otherwise known as PTE.
It’s a globally recognised, computer-based English language test that measures language ability – it is the fastest and most reliable way of proving English language proficiency.
Launched in 2009, PTE was created in response to the demand for a more accurate, objective, secure and relevant test of English skill. PTE is accepted by academic institutions and governments across the globe and is the market-leading high stakes English test.
PTE stands out in the market due to its speed, flexibility, fairness and accuracy – being a computer-based test, PTE eliminates the biases of human scoring and ensures that marking is devoid of human error.
Students who want to study or migrate abroad are required to demonstrate their English skills, and like any tests your students may take, it requires adequate preparation. Students are exposed to excerpts from lectures, graphs and charts, and will hear a vast range of accents in the test, which reflects exposure to the types of accents encountered in everyday life.
Welcome to episode 2 of the Art of Learning podcast, brought to you by Pearson Asia.
We're joined by Lê Thị Phượng Liên, Deputy Director of International Education - BTEC at the American Polytechnic College in Hồ Chí Minh, to discuss the power of vocational education and the importance of linking qualifications to jobs.
We introduce the American Polytechnic College (1:23), we discuss why Pearson's BTEC qualifications stand out (4:34), the importance of guidance from your education partners (6:39), student feedback on hands-on learning (9:07), and Lê Thị Phượng Liên offers her advice on implementing BTEC qualifications in your institution (10:53).
In Thailand, the high-end manufacturing sector is booming. Aided in part by the government’s support, there is real enthusiasm for specialised engineering learning, and many young Thais are looking for careers in what is becoming an increasingly competitive field.
In response, the country’s higher-education institutions, such as King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), are catering to this increase in interest.
With many younger, aspiring engineers focused on advanced fields like nanotechnology, undergraduates in the STEM disciplines are looking for additional courses to give them much-needed practical knowledge, and ultimately, an edge in the job market.
In schools like KMITL, this heightened interest in specialised education has led to an increased adoption of high-quality, practical qualifications like BTEC.
These courses, which are highly experience-based and geared towards the skills that make graduates attractive to employers, allow students who value hands-on experience and practical learning to get tangible qualifications that can really make a difference when entering the workforce.
What is BTEC?
For over 30 years BTEC qualifications have offered an engaging alternative to more academic, traditional learning models.
Based on real-life work skills and knowledge, these qualifications are more attractive to students who have a career path in mind and want the relevant experience related to their chosen field – in STEM, health, sport, business, IT, the creative industries, and more. Because the courses are focused on “learning by doing,” BTEC students work on assignments set in real-life scenarios and can put their learning into practice straight away.
Employers benefit just as much, secure in the knowledge that new graduates from BTEC programs have the relevant skills – and experience – to hit the ground running. It’s a proven strategy – according to global data, some 90% of BTEC students are employed full-time after graduating.
The courses have developed as a way to unify English with technical and vocational qualifications, giving educators a framework around which to experiment and innovate in the way they teach, and offering their students the range of skills needed to thrive in today’s competitive job market.
KMITL – a Thai educational innovator
KMITL, a research and educational institution in Bangkok, has a heavy STEM focus and its reputation for imparting high-quality vocational training makes it an ideal partner to pilot BTEC Higher Nationals, internationally recognized vocational qualifications equivalent to the first two years of a university degree. KMITL has long been an innovator in Thai education, including awarding the country’s first doctoral degree in electrical engineering, and is associated with the Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-NET).
While BTEC programs have been known at the high-school level in Thailand for some time, KMITL is pioneering its application for tertiary-level learners through new courses in Manufacturing Engineering and Management & Leadership.
The KMITL selection process for inclusion in its BTEC program is exacting, with only nine successful applicants for every 100, according to Dr. Chatrpol Pakasiri, a BTEC instructor at the institution. Students studying science, technology or engineering bachelor’s degrees are encouraged to apply.
Dr. Chatrpol has been teaching at KMITL for six years and helms the institution’s BTEC course on the principles of electrical engineering.
He says that while the BTEC curriculum is similar in many ways to the coursework he previously taught, his students benefit greatly from the practical experience, noting that those in his program directly “learn about manufacturing,” which will help them find jobs after graduation.
He adds that the new methodology, with a greater focus on self-starting and engaging learning, allows his students to “take responsibility for themselves,” which is a quality highly attractive to potential employers. He says that the course is ideal for motivated students who are prepared to work hard and many of his BTEC students are so involved in the course and value the practical aspects so highly, a simple passing grade isn’t enough for them: they are aiming, instead, to graduate with distinction.
He adds that the course is a hugely valuable additional qualification, which can be taken concurrently with their undergraduate degree courses. “It’s like having a second degree – usually if you want to have two degrees, it’s difficult to do so in different fields. Either [the students] would have to go back and get another bachelor’s degree and spend more time doing it – so in that respect it’s very good.”
Road to success
As the higher-level BTEC qualifications are relatively new to Thailand’s universities, their benefits are – for now – somewhat unfamiliar to the hiring departments of the country’s manufacturing and engineering industries.
But Dr. Chatrpol sees the qualification as having a bright future in Thailand. He is confident that as class after class of BTEC students graduate and enter the workforce, their worth will come to be known and valued by employers. “Awareness of BTEC will improve as students start to graduate and get their certificates. Then industry will get to know their capabilities,” he says.
Dr. Chatrpol says that KMITL plans to introduce additional BTEC courses into its current rotation across hospitality management, management and leadership, and business. He hopes that expanding the course options will further establish his institution as a BTEC leader in Thailand and attract top talent from across the Southeast Asian nation and beyond.