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More than just a hurdle: Transforming negative perceptions of English assessment

Mickey Bonin Speaking at the Australian British Health Catalyst 2019


OET has the potential to transform negative market perceptions of English assessment into positive experiences, CBLA’s Head of Product and Strategy Mickey Bonin has said.

Speaking to the 2019 Australian British Health Catalyst in London, Mr Bonin explained how health professionals currently see English assessment as a barrier.

However, he believes that OET, the only global healthcare-specific language test, can help national providers facilitate this transformation by grounding assessment in healthcare scenarios.

In addition, moving healthcare professionals towards assessment tasks grounded in healthcare scenarios can help national health services tackle the growing healthcare crisis.

From barrier to enabler

Currently, healthcare professionals see English language assessment as a barrier that must be overcome in their pursuit of overseas work.

Mr Bonin said healthcare professionals sitting general or academic language tests contest the value of this form of assessment.

“They fail to see the relevance of a general English test as it relates to their work in a healthcare setting, he said. “Because OET is healthcare-specific, it prepares them for work in the healthcare sector.”

“OET transforms this perceived barrier into an enabler by couching assessment in real-world healthcare scenarios, as well as building their confidence in their communication skills and language proficiency.”

Group photo of delegates for Australian British Healthcare Catalyst

The event was an opportunity to talk about how OET can help build confidence in the healthcare workforce.

Role of digital in assessment

Another key topic at the Catalyst is the role of AI in healthcare.

Speakers explored how AI and machine learning can help better deliver healthcare services, including retention and access to medical records.

Mr Bonin touched on how AI is being used in the language testing sector.

“You can do things quicker and usually at a lower cost,” he said. “However, there is a trade-off as current AI-based tests focus on general English skills and a limited set of linguistic features.”

“While these are important aspects of language learning, it’s difficult for these types of tests to capture para-linguistic features such as, being empathic and establishing trust between a patient and healthcare workers.”

The event aimed to facilitate and promote the movement of ideas and expertise between stakeholders in Australia and the UK. This year’s theme was ‘Integrated Healthcare in a Digital World.

Other speakers at the conference included Parliamentary under Secretary of State Baroness Blackwood, Department of Health and Social Care Baroness Harding, Chair and NHS Improve, Sir Malcolm Grant.

If you would like to learn more about OET and how it is helping to solve the healthcare crises afflicting Australia and the United Kingdom, contact OET today.