Why are fluent speakers failing the English test?

Doubt was cast over the legitimacy of the English fluency testing system when two native speakers failed a test and were denied the work visa and nurse registration they had applied for. An Irish vet and Australian former newsreader both failed a computer-administered speaking test despite having degrees in history, politics and, ironically, English.

Dr Rachel Burke, a language learning lecturer from the University of Newcastle, explained how we should account for the diverse and idiosyncratic nature of human speech to make testing as accurate as possible, and the pros and cons of using voice recognition technology to analyse speech.

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