Equmenopolis is now accepting pre-orders for other universities, elementary, junior high and high schools, English conversation schools, other educational institutions and general organizations, and will exhibit at the EDIX Tokyo Education Exhibition (May 10-12, Tokyo Big Sight).
Equmenopolis Inc. (headquartered in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; Yoichi Matsuyama, CEO) today announces the launch of LANGX Speaking, an English speaking ability assessment service through natural conversation with a conversation agent equipped with the latest generation AI, for educational and general institutions.
LANGX Speaking has been officially adopted by Waseda University in its regular English conversation course “Tutorial English” (over 10,000 students per year) from the 2023 academic year, and in March 2023, LANGX Speaking was the only East Asian finalist at SXSW EDU, an educational startup pitch competition at SXSW (South by Southwest, Austin, Texas, USA), the world’s leading creative event, and is gaining recognition worldwide.
Equmenopolis is now accepting demo account registrations (please refer to the registration information in this release), and will also be present at our booth at the EDIX Education Exhibition (May 10-12, Tokyo Big Sight, West Exhibition Hall, Booth #17), so please stop by and see us in person.
【Problems with traditional English speaking tests】
Although the cultivation of communicative competence in English has been emphasized in English education in Japan, it has long been pointed out that teaching methods, assessment methods, and teaching materials have been inadequate. According to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a global language proficiency standard, English proficiency in the four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), especially speaking proficiency, is defined by factors such as expression richness, grammatical correctness, fluency, pronunciation, interactivity, and coherence. Among these factors, the existing automated English language proficiency tests have been pointed out to be insufficient in terms of “interactivity” and “coherence”, which are considered important for conversing with others. In principle, it is difficult to capture such interactive features in conventional reading-based tests, and it has been pointed out that such tests do not adequately reflect actual communicative competence.
【About LANGX Speaking】
In contrast to the problems with conventional English tests, LANGX Speaking uses a conversational AI agent to elicit the learner’s abilities through natural interviews and role-playing dialogues, and then makes a comprehensive assessment of speaking ability. The more you talk, the more you learn. The more you converse with the agent, the more it learns about you and the more relevant feedback it can deliver (patent pending).
- Natural Conversation to Elicit English Conversation Skills: At the beginning of the LANGX Speaking test, the AI agent creates a relaxed atmosphere by talking to the test taker in a way that eases their tension. During the interview that follows, the agent playing the role of the interviewer will be there during the conversation with the test taker, offering some pleasantries and waiting while the test taker thinks of a response. If the candidate is at a loss for an answer and the conversation becomes stilted, the interviewer will lead the conversation to another topic, thus providing an experience similar to a real interview. The system assesses the English level of the respondent’s speech and automatically adjusts the difficulty level of the questions. In the latter half of the interview, a simple discussion dialogue is also developed.
- Assesses true English speaking ability: Using speech data collected through interactive conversations with agents, LANGX Speaking automatically assesses a candidate’s speaking ability based on six aspects (CEFR criteria): expression richness, grammatical correctness, fluency, pronunciation, interactivity, and coherence. By taking LANGX Speaking, test takers are able to check their own level of English speaking ability and understand their own strengths and weaknesses in English speaking, which can then be used to improve their English language learning. The latest assessment model significantly exceeds the accuracy of CEFR assessment experts.
- Low price: Compared to in-person speaking proficiency tests conducted by human experts (which typically cost between 5,000 yen and 20,000 yen), LANGX Speaking is available for less than 2,000 yen per test through the use of AI.
【Pre-order for LANGX Speaking available from May 10】
LANGX Speaking will be available for pre-order from May 10 for educational institutions such as elementary and junior high schools, universities, and English conversation schools, as well as for general businesses, starting with its official adoption at Waseda University. Interested parties are invited to visit us at the EDIX Education Exhibition or request a demo account using the inquiry form below.
▼LANGX Speaking provision image
Once each educational and general institution signs the LANGX Basic contract and order the required number of LANGX Speaking test tickets, test takers affiliated with that institution are able to the speaking test. Each test taker accesses the LANGX Speaking website via a web browser on their laptop, registers for the test tickets distributed by their institution, and then takes the speaking test as easily as if they were in an online meeting (no special equipment or software required). The results are returned to the learner within a few minutes in a normal situation.
The admin user of each institution can check the test status and improvement of the abilities of all the test takers in the institution from the dedicated LANGX Speaking customer console. The testing system, which is constantly evolving, will enable more detailed and accurate diagnostic results and growth processes to be viewed and utilized for curriculum planning and other purposes based on data analysis.
▼LANGX Speaking Adoption by Waseda University
Waseda University has officially adopted LANGX Speaking as their English proficiency assessment test for their English conversation class “Tutorial English” from the 2023 academic year. The test is expected to be used by more than 10,000 students annually. As of March 2023, approximately 4,000 new students took the test and the test results was used for class placement in the English conversation class.
Tutorial English is a small-group class with a maximum of four students per group, focusing on the development of English speaking skills. The course is one of the signature courses at Waseda University. LANGX Speaking was officially adopted in the 2023 academic year for the purpose of measuring learning effectiveness and class placement before and after the course. By adopting a technology that deeply measures interpersonal communication skills in English, it is expected that students will be able to take classes at more appropriate levels and further improve their learning effectiveness.
【EDIX Tokyo – Largest education trade show in Japan】
Equmenopolis will be show casing the LANGX Speaking product at the EDIX Tokyo Education Exhibition to be held at Tokyo Big Sight from May 10 to 12, 2023 (free admission). We look forward to seeing you there.
- EDIX Tokyo: https://www.edix-expo.jp/tokyo/ja-jp.html
- Date: May 10 – 12, 2023, 10:00 – 18:00 *Close at 17:00 on the last day only
- Location: Tokyo Big Sight, West Exhibition Hall, Booth #17
- How to participate: Please pre-register (free of charge) at the event website and come to our booth
【Equmenopolis as a university startup】
Equmenopolis is a startup from Waseda University. LANGX service is supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) commissioned research “Technology Development Project for Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Evolving with Human Beings” (commissioned to Waseda University), the NEDO funded “Research and Development Type Startup Support Project / Commercialization Support for R&D Startups in Seed Phase (STS)”, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) commissioned research “Beyond 5G Seeds Creation Program”. Equmenopolis will promote social implementation of LANGX, which is also an industry-government-academia collaborative innovation originating in Japan.
Grants and Commissioned research received as Waseda University (pre-foundation of Equmenopolis)
- [Commissioned Research] New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), “Technology Development Project for Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Evolving with People”, “Development of an Online Language Learning Support AI System that Grows with People”, adopted in FY2020.
- [Grant] Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), “Research Results Deployment Project: New Industry Creation Program from Universities (START),” “Commercialization of Media Service with Social Conversation AI,” adopted in FY2019
Grants and Commissioned research received as Equmenopolis Inc.
- [Commissioned Research] Research and Development of XR Communication Infrastructure for Realization of Highly Realistic Interaction Experience with Conversational AI Agents,” a research commissioned by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), adopted in FY2022. https://www.nict.go.jp/publicity/topics/2022/08/05-1.html
- [Grant] Research and Development of XR Communication Infrastructure for Realization of Highly Realistic Interaction Experience with Conversational AI Agents,” a research commissioned by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), adopted in FY2022. https://www.nedo.go.jp/koubo/CA3_100345.html