PITTSBURGH, PA (January 27, 2011) – OWL Testing Software, a premier provider of affordable web-based testing and assessment systems, announced today that Columbia University in the City of New York is using OWL. Columbia began using OWL this past semester to assess the English-speaking proficiency of International Teaching Fellows for whom English is not their first language (ESL).
Columbia is using OWL to screen incoming doctoral students who will be teaching undergraduates. Based on the screening, incoming students are placed in one of three categories: exempted from further English study, placed in a course for International Teaching Fellow training, or recommended for further testing in the form of a live performance exam. Columbia anticipates screening about 100 students with OWL Testing Software each year.
OWL Testing Software has enabled Columbia University to more efficiently administer oral proficiency testing. With OWL, Columbia can manage, schedule, and administer their ESL exams online. By digitally capturing the oral responses of each candidate, OWL also allows raters to do their evaluations online. OWL’s unique system of digital capture also allows users to control multiple ratings, and captures the necessary data for reporting.
Maria McCormack, Lecturer in Language for Columbia University's American Language Program, directed the selection process. According to Ms. McCormack, “OWL is a good fit for Columbia because it gives us a lot of flexibility in designing our oral proficiency assessments. With OWL, we can design the individual test tasks ourselves, insert our own rubric, record speaking samples, and perform ratings remotely.”
Chris Dalessandri, OWL Testing Software president and CEO, explains, "Assessing the language capabilities of international doctoral students in order to qualify them as teaching assistants is a common requirement at many educational institutions. We are glad that another leading university sees the value in using OWL to facilitate and improve this process.” Mr. Dalessandri continues, “With OWL, universities have the flexibility to use either a standardized speaking proficiency exam or a customized program that has been developed to meet their specific assessment needs.”
About OWL Testing Software
OWL Testing Software is a leading provider of test building software to academia, business, and government markets. Built as a Web-based solution for test creation, administration, and management, OWL Testing Software is unique in its ability to create tests for all four communication skills – oral, aural, reading and writing. OWL is available as licensed software and as a hosted solution to meet the needs of organizations concerned with enhancing the learning and assessment process. Please visit www.owlts.com or call 877.695.3395 for more information.
About Columbia University
Columbia University has grown to encompass two principal campuses: the historic, neoclassical campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood and the modern Medical Center further uptown, in Washington Heights. Today, Columbia is one of the top academic and research institutions in the world, conducting pathbreaking research in medicine, science, the arts, and the humanities. It includes three undergraduate schools, thirteen graduate and professional schools, and a school of continuing education. For more information visit www.columbia.edu.