Versant Spoken Language Tests
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Versant Spoken Language Tests


Overview: The Versant™ Spoken Language Tests automatically evaluate the spoken language skills of non-native speakers, using speech processing technology and the advanced science of linguistics. The Versant™ Spoken Language Tests have been used by corporations, call centers/BPOs, government agencies, and academic institutions throughout the world to evaluate the spoken language skills of staff or recruitment candidates.

Other Languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Aviation English, Chinese, Dutch, French

Administration: Web, Mobile App, or Computer

Completion Time: 15-18 minutes (Timed)

Scores/Interpretation: Automated Scoring: Tests are taken on a computer and are scored by advanced automated scoring systems including the Knowledge Analysis Technologies™ (KAT) engine which evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole written passages.


Product Details

The Versant Spoken Language Tests evaluate a non-native speaker's ability to understand and to communicate appropriately on everyday topics.  Versant automated tests can quickly, objectively and accurately evaluate the language skills of candidates for employment.

The test uses the patented Ordinate® speech processing technology, and provides results online within minutes.  Tests may be taken on a telephone, computer or mobile device.

Use this test to:

  • Assess the language capability of employees for recruiting or training programs
  • Hire government agents for immigration or other agencies which require spoken language skills

Why Use Versant

  • Research-based and reliable for accurate, meaningful results.  The Versant Arabic Test is built using criteria developed by expert linguists. The Versant testing system, based on the patented Ordinate® technology, has been extensively field trialed and validated with reference to the most qualified human evaluators of language proficiency, fluency, and pronunciation.
  • Objective, independent assessment for a more robust approach.  The Versant testing system allows you to evaluate all of your employees on an equal basis with objective, unbiased scoring. It complies with the legal and professional guidelines in the Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures and the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures governing the use of tests for high-stakes decision-making in organizations.
  • Streamlined administration and automated scoring save time.  Your staff can easily administer the Versant tests by having employees take the test over the telephone, on a computer, or via a mobile application. The Versant testing system automatically scores a candidate's test, making a detailed score report available for you in the reporting system within minutes of being submitted.

For Versant for Web:

Operating System

Any (no mobile support)

Browser Compatibility

Chrome v23 or higher
Internet Explorer v9 or higher
Firefox v17 or higher
Safari v6 or higher

Flash Version

Internet Explorer only - v11 or higher

Network Bandwidth

32 KB/s

Screen Resolution

1024px X 768px


USB headset with microphone

For Versant App:

Operating System

iOS v 8.0+
Android v 4.4+


App download size ~5MB
Minimum storage required to take a test 25 MB
Storage required to pre-download tests 140 MB

Network (Recommended)

3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection during test download (6-12 MB)
3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection during response upload (6-12 MB)

NOTE: Internet is not required while taking the test.



For Computer Delivered Testing (CDT):


Windows® XP SP3+, Vista, or 7
Pentium® III at 600 MHz or higher


5 GB free disk space
512 MB of RAM

Network (Recommended)

Broadband Internet connection Network security access to allow CdtClient.exe application to access (port 443)


Internet Explorer 7.0 (or higher)




Sound card / audio driver to play audio
Screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768


The Versant testing system scores both the content and the manner of speech in our Versant speaking tests. It leverages speech processing technology that was built specifically to handle the different rhythms and varied pronunciations used by native and non-native English speakers. Learn more

Scores are available in the form of score reports within minutes after a test is completed. Depending on the test, score reports may include the overall score and domain scores, as well as detailed language capabilities of the test taker and suggestions for improvement.

Score Reports

To view a sample score report, please click on the language below.  The report outlines the skill areas evaluated (sentence mastery, vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation) and provides a score for each, as well as an overall score.  There is also commentary on the candidate's capabilities.

How the Versant Testing System Works

Video:  Developing Tests to the Highest Standards

The Versant testing system scores both the content and the manner of speech in our Versant Speaking tests. It uses speech processing technology that was built to handle the different rhythms and varied pronunciations used by native and non-native English speakers. In addition to recognizing the words spoken, the system also aligns the speech signal, i.e., it locates the part of the signal containing relevant segments, syllables, and words to the hypothesized response. This allows the system to assign independent scores based on the content of what is spoken and on the manner in which it is said. Thus, the system is able to generate scores based on the words used in the spoken responses ("content"), as well as the pace, fluency, and pronunciation of those words in phrases and sentences ("manner").

Base measures are then derived from the linguistic units (segments, syllables, words), based on statistical models built from the performance of native and non-native speakers. The base measures are combined into four diagnostic subscores using advanced statistical modeling techniques. Two of the diagnostic subscores are based on the content of what is spoken, and two are based on the manner in which the responses are spoken. An Overall Score is calculated as a weighted combination of the diagnostic subscores.

Versant Writing tests are scored within minutes by advanced automated scoring systems including the Knowledge Analysis Technologies™ (KAT) engine which evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole written passages. The KAT engine is based on Pearson's unique implementation of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), an approach that generates semantic similarity of words and passages by analyzing large bodies of relevant text. LSA can then "understand" the meaning of text much the same as a human reader.

Scored Item Tasks

The Versant testing system automatically scores responses to many different item tasks. In the Versant Speaking tests, these may include: reading aloud, repeating sentences, building sentences, giving short answers to questions, retelling brief stories, response selection, conversations, and passage comprehension. In the Versant Writing test, item tasks include: typing, completing sentences, dictation, reconstructing passages, and writing e-mails. For some tasks, such as Reading and Repeats, there is exactly one correct word sequence expected for each response. In other tasks, items can have multiple correct answers. All test items have undergone extensive pre-testing on diverse samples of native and non-native speakers at a wide range of ability levels.


Versant machine-generated scores generally correspond as they should with human ratings. For example, at the overall score level, Versant English Test machine-generated scores are virtually indistinguishable from scoring that is done by careful human transcriptions and repeated independent human judgments. The correlation between the two is 0.97. 

The data presented in the figure below shows the correlation between the Versant English Test and human scores.

Over the years, the Versant Test Development team and third parties have collected data on parallel administrations of the Versant English Test and other well-established language examinations, enabling a measure of concurrent validity. Correlations with other instruments for assessing oral skills, which focus mainly or entirely on speaking, range from .75 to .94. The data suggest that the Versant English Test overlaps substantially with that of other instruments designed to assess spoken language skills.

Featured Research Papers and Presentations

The Research and Development team works closely with international experts in the research of the technology and development of the Versant tests. The team conducts internal research as a part of ongoing validity studies and gathers substantial evidence for the validity, reliability, and practicality of its current products and at investigating new applications for Ordinate technology. It leverages the expertise of independent international experts to conduct validation studies. The team also responds to requests from independent researchers who conduct experiments in the field of linguistics and use Versant products as one of their measures. Research results are published in international journals. Listed below is some of the research conducted by the Research and Development team at Pearson.  Click here for access to research papers and presentations.

Associated Organizations

Click here for a list of academic and commercial organizations across North America, Europe and Asia that were involved in the development and validation testing of the Versant testing system.


How to Take a Test with Versant for Web
System Requirements

  1. Go to and complete the system check.
  2. Go to
  3. Enter your Test Identification Number (TIN)
  4. Follow the instructions you hear on your computer headset and take the test. If you exit the test for any reason, simply return to step 2 within 24 hours to resume your test in progress.
  5. When you're finished taking the test, you can retrieve your score by visiting the Get Score area of our website at and entering your TIN in the space provided.

Test Instructions
To view the test instructions, please click on the language below.  This document is the instructions provided to test takers prior to completing their Versant spoken language evaluation. 

Sample Test
To view a sample test document, please click on the language below.  The document shows the parts of the spoken language test (reading, repeat, questions, sentence builds, repeat, passage retelling) and provides a sample item for each task.

Sample Call
To listen to a sample administration of the test (audio), please click the language below.

Take a Demo Test
To experience a demo test, please click here.  You will be asked to complete a brief form to give you access to the demo test. Demo tests are limited to one per person. 



Frequently asked questions follow. Click on a question to see the response.

Pricing & Ordering

Available for purchase online soon!

Please call 1-650-470-3505 or email to order.

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Product and Order Help

Sales Inquiries
To order Versant products or meet with your Pearson Specialist, please call 650-470-3505 or

For Customer or Technical Support
Our customer support reps can consult with you on products and order questions.

P: 650-470-3503