Here are a few stray details I picked up from my participation in some recent ETS events. They aren’t really important, but you might find them interesting.

  1. The SpeechRater checks everything, including vocabulary and grammar. My earlier impression that it only checks delivery was incorrect.
  2. Confirmed: there is just one human rater alongside the SpeechRater for each task.
  3. The human score and the SpeechRater score have equal weight. They are averaged. If there is a major difference between them, however, a second human rater will check the answer.
  4. SpeechRater generates task-specific scores, rather than scoring everything collectively.
  5. Important: When a score review is requested the SpeechRater is not used.
  6. Interestingly, an ETS person told me that in the past there was only ever a single human rater for each task. This is the total opposite of what ETS told me previously, which is that there was always two human raters for each task. I guess it doesn’t matter now.
  7. They have heard your complaint about the less-detailed Score Reports, and are considering how to provide more detailed information. Yay!
  8. They are working on a new Official Guide, but there is no timeline for publication.

I’ll have to update my video about the Speaking Section changes, I think. Stay tuned.

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