Accent Reduction Training Association


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Newsweek Magazine

"Those with a less identifiable regional accent, such as that found in the Midwest, tended to get recommended for higher profile and often higher paying jobs in public relations and marketing."

ARTA Assessment - FAQ's

1.      Who needs to take the accent assessment?

           The accent assessment is required for all international students who are
           non-native speakers of English. Students must score a 35% or higher before being
           offered a program study option with an ARTA Trainer. Students who achieve less
           than 35% are recommended for Basic and Intermediate level classes.

2.       How do you define non-native speaker?

            A speaker of a language other than English who has spoken that language as
            the primary language since childhood.

3.       How often is the accent assessment offered?

            The assessment is given only three times a year: in Fall, Winter, and Summer
            semesters. Contact the program manager for exact dates.

4.       How do I register for the accent assessment?

            Approximately two weeks before each assessment period the Program Manager
            sends registration information and links to each prospective student. In most
            cases, the PM emails this information to each student. If you do not receive a
            registration form two weeks prior to the assessment period or if you
            have other questions about registration, contact us.

5.       Where is the accent assessment given?

            Each assessment is given online in the virtual classroom or at
            a location, depending on your area.

6.      How much does the accent assessment cost?

           Please click the Get Started Now button below to find the current cost. 

7.      If I take the accent assessment and do not achieve the score I
         need, how soon can I take the assessment again?

           We recommend that you improve your accent for at least four months and that
           you enroll in courses offered by ARTA to continue language training before the
           next assessment. If you have not taken an Accent Reduction Program course or
           Individualized Instruction in the semester of the assessment, you may not be
           permitted to take the assessment.

8.      Is there a limit to how many times I can take the accent 

          There is currently no limit, but students who retake the assessment only when
           they feel they are well prepared and can perform will do best. Taking the   
           assessment repeatedly without careful preparation can result in poorer
           performances as student anxiety levels increase with each failing performance.
           If you have failed previously and have not taken an Accent Reduction Programs
           course or Individualized Instruction in the semester of the assessment, you may
           not be permitted to take the assessment. Students who postpone their
           enrollment beyond the period of late registration will need to reapply 
           and retake the assessment. Assessments must be taken within 14 days of
           the date of registration. We require 24 hours notice for rescheduling all sessions
           or a reinstatement fee may apply.

9.      Are there assessment procedures or fees that I need to observe?

          Submit your completed registration form prior to the deadline. You do not need to
          bring a pencil or paper for the test. Your answers will be monitored for later
          reporting and scoring in a written report to be purchased separately.

10.    What is the accent assessment?

          The accent assessment is an oral proficiency test that measures how well you
          understand and express yourself in spoken English. The key to remember is that
          assessment-takers are scored on how comprehensible they are, which usually
          revolves around how natural they sound. Natural does not mean perfect, but it
          does mean that the assessment-taker should be easy to understand even for a
          listener with little or no experience with non-native speakers. In the assessment,
          your responses to questions that you hear are monitored. The responses are then
          rated by trained evaluators.The timed assessment consists of 75 short phrases,
          39 sentences, drilling exercises and  takes 40 minutes. It is designed to evaluate
          your American accent proficiency so you will be asked questions about many
          topics, including those unrelated to your profession or field of study. You will listen
          to the trainer through a microphone headset which records your responses
          digitally in a computer-based program. Once the assessment begins,
          you must keep pace with the timed questions. The time allotted for each section
          is provided by the  trainer before the section begins.

          The ARTA assessment is administered in a computer-based online classroom, on
          the phone or in person environment, and you will be speaking into a microphone.
          You will be taking the assessment one-to-one with your trainer. When you attend,
          keep all outside interruptions to a minimum, (cell phone ringers off) which is
          distracting while speaking or responding in the classroom environment.

11.    What kinds of questions appear on the ARTA accent assessment?

          There are several different forms of the accent assessments, but all have similar
          types of questions: A warm-up with general questions. This section will not be
          scored. It is important, however, that the assessment-taker reply to the questions
          to make sure that the recording system is working properly.
          A reading section, where the assessment-taker describes a place to other event.
          A story-telling section where the assessment-taker describes a series of events
          and tells the story based on the topics.
          Follow-up questions based on the story.
          Comment and opinion statements, often related to the assessment-taker's field of
          study. A chart or graph-reading section, where the assessment-taker explains the
          information given on a chart or graph.
          Follow-up questions based on the chart or graph.
          A schedule with modifications where the assessment-taker explains the schedule
          and the changes.

12.    If I do not finish an answer or have extra time left and have
         nothing more to say, will I receive a low score on the accent 

           Not necessarily. If you address the question well and run out of time, this will not
           affect your score. If you have extra time but have answered completely, again,
           this will not affect your score.

13.    Suggestions for ARTA accent assessment-takers during the test

           Relax and get plenty of sleep the night before the test. Relaxed students tend to 
           perform better on this assessment.
           Focus on being as natural-sounding as possible. It is better to sound smooth,
           even if you make a few pronunciation mistakes than to speak very slowly and
           haltingly with no pronunciation errors. Speaking clearly is better than speaking
           quickly; those who speak very quickly are harder to understand than those who
           speak smoothly but a bit more slowly.

a.      Before the ARTA assessment

          Talk in English as much as possible. Getting plenty of informal speaking practice
          will help you feel more relaxed and sound more natural.
          Practice giving directions from a map, telling stories from current events, and 
          describing a chart or graph (see materials section below).
          Practice with a timer so that you gain a feeling for how long 30 seconds, 60
          seconds, and 90 seconds are.
          Pay attention to the time allotted for each question. Bring a watch with a second
          hand so that
          you can see how much time you have left. Watches that beep are not allowed.
          Listen to native speakers and notice how they communicate. How do they
          organize their ideas?
          What types of discourse techniques do they use? How do they adjust the
          formality of their language for different situations?

b.      After the ARTA assessment

           Congratulate yourself.
           Your score will be emailed to you within a week of the test. If you do not receive
           your score from your trainer within 10 days of your test date, first contact your
           trainer, then call to speak with a Program Manager.
           Scores will often be given during the follow-up session.

14.    What will my assessment results mean?

           If you receive a score of 35 or above (Pass), you may be recommended for an ARTA
           Program. For scores below 35, you should continue language training. ARTA's
           Basic and Intermediate Programs and Group courses, offered during Fall and
           Spring terms, are described on our web site along with a recommended
           sequence of courses to follow.

15.     Can I practice for the test?

            Yes, practicing for the test may be beneficial. Even if you feel your oral skills
            are good, you can practice. This type of test has a particular format which
            may be unfamiliar. Practicing will help you feel more comfortable on the day of
            the test. You can practice by Reading the information for the Tips for Accent
            Reduction on our web site. Note that the while the Accent Tips has listening
            skills, versions of assessments do not. Subscribe to the ARTA Mentor
            Membership services accessible in our Member Login Portal (MLP), which
            include: Official Practice Assessment Packet (MP3 of Assessment
            and accompanying assessment pdf's)
            Practice Assessments 1 and 2 from past ARTA assessments (MP3 with
            recordings of each
            assessment, with students responses.
            Practice Assessments 1 and 2 pdf's


            Consulting the ARTA Training Guide in the Members area. This guide
            is available for purchase on our website. Be sure to use the 2015 version of this
            guide, not the new version.
            The new version has listening comprehension sections that students do not
            need to practice for the assessment.

16.     Who rates assessments and how are they rated?

            The ARTA assessment is rated by trained and certified ARTA trainers. Each
            assessment is rated by at least two different raters, who do not know the score
            that each other has give to your assessment. The assessment is rated not only
            for pronunciation but for how well you use grammar, vocabulary, stressing and

17.     If I pass the assessment, should I continue to take the
          Basic  or Intermediate level courses?

           The assessment is a minimum standard for learning at ARTA, so students
           are  encouraged to continue taking courses for personal and career
           development. Cost varies by program. Review the Accent Reduction Programs
           on our website and the Corporate Training page for additional learning and job
           related training and workshops.

18.     Are courses offered for prospective students who do
          speak English as a native language?

            Yes, there is a progression of courses that prospective ARTA students can take
            to improve their English communication skills. Corporate Training
            Program courses, offered during fall and spring terms, are described on our web
            site along with a recommended sequence of courses to follow.

19.     Besides the assessment, is there a way to satisfy the
          ARTA accent reduction proficiency requirement?

            Yes, under some circumstances students can take the Oral Pronunciation
            Assessment (OPA).
            In this assessment, the candidate speaks briefly on a topic in his/her field, and
            participate in a simulated job interview. It is rated by at least two trainers and
            videotaped. (in person only) For information about this interview and which
            students may qualify to take it, please contact the Program Manager (PM) at