Developing an Online System to Evaluate EFL College Students’ Voice Performance in English Public Speaking

By Yow-jyy Joyce Lee, Liang-Yu Chen and Ming-Han Lee.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 1, 2016 $US5.00

This study develops an oral evaluation system of voice skills in English public speech passages and examines the system’s robustness. The system builds on four methods: 1) creation of customized oral practice system on the cloud; 2) automatic speech-text alignment; 3) pause detection; and 4) English speech scoring. The system was made available as a web application and was able to rate the vocal expressiveness and pronunciation correctness of the users’ public speech recordings. The application gave instant feedbacks of scores of pronunciation, duration, and intonation on the word level as well as a score indicating the overall performance of the speech passage. The system and a human judge rated sixty students’ oral public speech recordings respectively and produced two sets of scores. A paired t-test was executed on the two sets of scores to verify the robustness of the system. The result shows that the two ratings are not significantly different. It means that the automatic system can be an alternative to the manual scoring of a human judge in distance learning. In conclusion, the system can serve as an additional evaluative aid for teachers and self-evaluation aid for English public speech learners. The success of the application implies that it may be possible for researchers to further develop the system for different language settings and ultimately becomes a multilingual evaluative tool.

Keywords: English Speech Recognition, English Public Speech Evaluation, Forced Alignment, Dynamic Time Warping, Educational Technology

The International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 1, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 852.407KB)).

Dr. Yow-jyy Joyce Lee

Associate Professor, Department of Applied English, National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taichung City, TW, Taiwan

Liang-Yu Chen

Ph.D. Candidate, Institute of Information Systems and Applications, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Ming-Han Lee

Research Assistant, Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei City, TW, Taiwan