Humans at the Heart
Avant Certified Raters are language educators, experts, and most often members of the language communities for which they are rating.
Avant continues to improve and develop the best language proficiency assessment technology in the world and yet, nothing can replace people with intimate and deep knowledge of each language we assess. They are the foundation of ensuring the most accurate and reliable data to aid in curriculum development, teacher professional learning, and test taker outcomes.
Many of our raters are language experts who helped develop the assessments themselves!
Backed by Research
Recent research on the rating of the Writing and Speaking sections of the Avant STAMP assessments demonstrates how Avant applies rigorous standards and rating quality checks to achieve a high degree of accuracy and reliability across all 45 language assessments.
Results show that across all levels, the rating of Avant STAMP 4S and STAMP WS Writing and Speaking responses is highly consistent. The American Council on Education (ACE) has conducted an extensive review of Avant’s rating processes, accuracy and reliability. Based on their review, ACE recommends Avant STAMP for college credit. For more statistical detail, read the full white paper on the high degree of inter-rater reliability of Avant STAMP Speaking and Writing responses.
Avant Rating Philosophy
We believe that language learning is a lifelong journey. Proficiency, defined as a high degree of competency or skill, evolves over time, practice, and the ability to use a language in real-world contexts.
Comprehension and Communication
Avant Certified Raters are trained on rating for consistency, comprehension, and the ability to communicate in the target language. Test takers are not penalized for errors, such as in grammar, and are not asked to recite memorized vocabulary or conjugations. Rather, responses are rated based on their spontaneous demonstration of what they know at this point in time.
See our Benchmarks and Rubric Guide for further details on the Avant Rating process.
Avant hires, trains, and certifies all of its raters to ensure rigorous standards are met when it comes to the accuracy and reliability of our assessment scores.
The Avant Rating Team has created a powerful and efficient training process that helps us ensure that we have well-trained, qualified individuals. We have developed a team of rater managers working in different time zones to ensure that the raters have immediate access to help when presented with difficult responses.
We also utilize a system of mentor raters and assistants to the rater managers who will help in guiding newly trained raters and ensure their rating is in line with rating criteria and standards.
We start by orienting new raters to the Avant STAMP criteria, which are derived from ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Avant gives raters specific criteria to make the abstract guidelines more concrete.
For example, the guidelines for Intermediate-High state that test takers must produce “connected sentences into paragraphs using a limited number of cohesive devices.” This can mean many things to many people, so we introduce concepts that are easier to interpret consistently: a response should contain complexities.
This distinguishes between sentences such as “My friend and I went to the store. We bought ice cream. We ate it on the way home.” which is not complex and does not meet the “connected sentences” criterion. “My friend and I ate the ice cream that we bought at the store” is a response and meets part of the “connected sentences” criterion.
Once raters understand the criteria, they begin applying that knowledge to practice responses. Each time they rate a response, they get immediate feedback on whether they scored it correctly and an explanation of the correct rating.
Repeating this process through hundreds of responses, raters internalize the criteria. Excellence becomes a habit.
When they are ready, new raters take a certification test. To be certified, our raters must pass the certification test with near-100% accuracy.
Even after they are certified, Avant raters keep demonstrating that they are consistent and reliable. Rater Connection, a proprietary rater management system, inserts one anchor item — agreed upon by master raters — into every batch of 25 real responses.
This shows how different raters score that anchor item and ensures that they remain true to the standard over time. In addition, one out of five items is randomly chosen for double rating. If the first two raters disagree, the item goes to a third rater with master raters carefully reviewing all of the tie-breaking decisions.
Avant ADVANCE: Train Like a Rater
Avant ADVANCE was developed from this rating training and certifying process. Teachers use it to deepen their own knowledge of the Proficiency Guidelines so they can better inform their day-to-day language teaching.
Students benefit from teachers who have taken Avant ADVANCE. But don’t take our word for it. Read how this educator’s classroom was transformed by language proficiency training.
Hear from our raters why working as an Avant rater is a rewarding experience.
Become a Rater
If you would like to join the Avant rating team, complete our online application.