New Era of English Language Assessment for Australian Schools [Press Release]

TOEFL Junior testing tool offers world-standard testing methodology to cope with large increase in school students learning English as a second language. 

TOEFL Junior - The World Leader in Teen English Second Language AssessmentWith students from non-English speaking backgrounds now estimated at around 30% of school enrolments in Australia, teachers are demanding a more effective means of placing new students into appropriate language programs.

 With the arrival of the new TOEFL Junior testing tool, they will now have access to an internationally renowned english language assessment system to measure english language proficiency of students at the middle-school level.

Based on the heritage of the world-renowned TOEFL brand, the TOEFL Junior tests are specifically designed for English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students aged 11-16 to assess their English communicative competence against international standards. These tests can be used both for language placements and monitoring students’ progress. » Read more

English Second Language Training and Support

In Australia, on average 15 percent of all school students come from a non-English speaking background. In some states it is much higher: in New South Wales this figure is almost 25 percent English Second Language Students, as it is in the Northern Territory, and in Victoria it is 20 percent. According to Adriano Truscott, president of the Australian Council of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Associations, Australia has an “outstanding tradition” in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

It is therefore vital that we have a great system for tracking the progress of our English Second Language Students (ESL) students, to cater for the needs of our high number of ESL students, as well as to safeguard our reputation as a leader in this field.

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Protecting your business against fraud and misconduct

As the business world becomes more diverse and expands across national boundaries, concerns about security and integrity in the workplace have never been higher. Stakeholder expectations for ethical business operations continue to rise, placing more responsibility on organisations to employ people who have high ethical standards.

To safeguard their organisations, many organisations incorporate background screening checks into their recruitment process. While the benefits of these are clear, there are legal ramifications which arise when a criminal record is revealed.  Refusing to employ an individual because they have a criminal record is against the law in Australia.

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Job performance in the global economy: how the meaning of job performance varies cross-culturally

In the Australian work context, together with other similar individualistic Western countries (such as the USA and UK), job performance is typically assessed in terms of task (in-role) behaviour – i.e., how well an employee performs their duties;  organisational citizenship behaviour – i.e., going ‘above and beyond’ role requirements such as helping other employees with their workload; and counterproductive work behaviours – i.e., absenteeism and poor work practices.

In this global economy it is important to be aware of how job performance is assessed in other cultures, particularly more collectivist culture such as many Asian and Latin American countries.

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Bribery and corruption – are organisations informed and prepared?

A recently released report outlining the findings of Deloitte’s 2012 Bribery and Corruption survey reveals that organisations in Australia and New Zealand may be ill-equipped to identify and manage corruption and bribery risk.

The survey was completed by 390 organisations from Australia and New Zealand, including publicly listed companies, Australian subsidiaries of foreign companies, public sector organisations and private companies.

Some key findings are:

 

 

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RightPeople in China!

In our efforts to ensure that we offer the most up-to-date, empirically based, well researched  tools available, we are constantly doing research and market-place testing of our new assessment tools.

We even go to China!

In an earlier blog we introduced the Multi-Tasks test, an empirically based competing tasks measure with a long history in job selection research that is particularly useful for predicting job performance in managerial roles.  We have now developed an updated online version of this tool and tested it on a group of workers in China.  Our findings show Multi-Tasks to be a valid, reliable predictor of job performance in the Chinese marketplace, particularly for more senior roles.

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Attention: employers of skilled migrants

Australia’s immigration policy had long focused largely on accepting highly-skilled migrants. Seeking workers with outstanding skills and qualifications that are lacking in Australia aims to address specific skill shortages and enhances the size and skill level of the Australian labour force.

In the 2012-13 period Australia accepted approximately 190,000 migrants. 68 percent of these, or almost 130,000 were skilled migrants.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research has found that skilled migrants, particularly those for whom English is a second language, often have different training needs to Australian workers.

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R your employees OK?

Thursday 13 September is National R U OK? Day.

R U OK? Day is a national mental health day on the second Thursday of September to encourage Australians to connect with their colleagues/employees by asking them: Are you okay?

One in five people experience depression at some point in their lives. That means that approximately 4 million Australians will suffer from depression. More than 2,000 Australians suicide each year. Depression is the most common mental illness, followed closely by anxiety.   Approximately 7 percent of Australian employees in any organisation suffer from depression each year.

 

So chances are that at least one person at each workplace may be suffering from a mental health problem right now.

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Due diligence can avoid legal issues

When hiring senior executives, a lot of time and attention tends to be given to perfecting the remuneration package.  A leading workplace law and strategy firm warns that it is important to give equal attention to exit strategies, to avoid costly legal battles if the relationship sours.

One aspect of the exit/departure process that is often disputed when senior executives move on is the restriant of trade clause, which sets out which organisations the executive is prohibited from working for after they leave the organisation and how long this prohibition lasts.  For instance, some organisations prohibit executives from working for competitors for up to on year after moving on.

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Baby boomers are booming at work!

One of the most important issues in the current labour market is the ageing of Australia’s workforce. There are not enough Generation X’s and Yers to replace the retiring baby boomers (BBs). However, this is not necessarily cause for concern as over the last decade we have seen a big increase in the number of BBs working past traditional retirement age (60-65 years).

In 2000 approximately 47% of men and 21% of women worked past the age of 60. In 2010 the figure for men had increased by 15% to 62% and the figure for women had more than doubled to 43%.

While this was partly due to the fall out from the Global Financial Crisis and the impact on superannuation, it is a positive step for organisations as it provides an opportunity both to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that more experienced workers possess and to capitalise on the changing workforce to introduce more flexibility in terms of part-time and casual work, mentoring, opportunities to combine work and further study and working from home arrangements.

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Safeguarding our workforce

Australia’s Aging Workforce

The ageing of Australia’s workforce is one of businesses’ major emerging challenges.  By 2044-45 it is estimated that 25% of Australians will be aged 65 years or over, which is approximately double the present population.

Additionally, over the last decade the average age of the Australian workforce (especially the full-time workforce) has been increasing faster than the average age of the general population (Department of Parliamentary Services, 2005).

In September 2010 there were approximately 5.8 million adults not in the labour force.  Over 3.3 million, or 57% of these people were aged 55 years and over (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).  As more people move into older age groups, overall workforce participation rates are predicted to substantially drop.  Some estimates project that there will be a loss of one third of the workforce over the next two decades to retirement, redundancy and illness/disability (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).

By early next decade labour demand is expected to exceed supply (Productivity Commission, 2005).

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Assessment in Organisations – Current Status, Trends and Emerging Issues

Meta-analyses have revealed that the most valid predictors of job performance are ability measures (cognitive or intelligence tests) and personality assessments, particularly the “Big 5” personality traits, followed by structured job interviews.  Together, ability tests and measures of conscientiousness or integrity provide an adjusted validity of 0.65 (Ones, Viswesveran, & Schmidt, 1993; Ones & Viswesveran, 1998).  The combination of these measures also helps to reduce the impact of issues such as cultural differences in performance on ability tests and measurement error (Bartram, 2004).

In terms of ‘post-hire’ testing, research has shown that 360 degree feedback systems are one of the most popular and fast-growing types of assessments used in organisations.  These systems have evolved as globalisation and the increased pace of change in organisations have resulted in a need for flexible measures of organisational performance that assess a range of competencies rather than specific job skills (Bartram, 2004).

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Testing for Workplace Bullies

The Australian Psychological Society defines workplace bullying as the experience of aggressive and negative behaviours towards one or more employees that results in a hostile work environment. To be classified as bullying, such negative acts must be regular (usually at least weekly) and persistent (continuing for a 6 month period or longer).

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PULLING OUT THE BAD WEEDS

Recruitment & Pre-Employment Selection Testing
By using the intuitive method of psychometric testing during pre-employment screening processes, companies are hitting a home run the first time they hire someone. Selective testing is “intuitive”, because it assesses job candidates beyond the normal interview questions, extracting information about the candidate through various kinds of pre-employment tests

According to Human Capital Magazine, pre-employment selection testing assists in recruiting people who are suitable for both the position and the company. In addition, selection testing also aids companies in “pulling out the bad weeds” that seem like the perfect fit.

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Needle in a Haystack: Getting the Right Graduate Can Prove to be a Tricky Task

Graduate recruitment requires both adequate planning and the appropriate tools. With tens of thousands of students graduating from universities every year, businesses can experience difficulty in finding the right individual with the skills, ability and determination to fit the requirements of their graduate plans.

Thousands of national and international businesses around the world have graduate programs that are prepared to hand-pick the most promising applicants, but choosing between them can be the tricky part, as a list of names and qualifications offer very little information about the people themselves. Personalities, ambition, and work ethics are all aspects that need to be considered when recruiting graduates.

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