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The Versant suite of tests are computerized tests of spoken language available from Pearson PLC. Versant tests were the first fully automated tests of spoken language to use advanced speech processing technology (including speech recognition) to assess the spoken language skills of non-native speakers. The Versant language suite includes tests of English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Arabic, and Mandarin. Versant technology has also been applied to the assessment of Aviation English, children’s oral reading assessment, and adult literacy assessment. In 1996, Jared Bernstein and Brent Townsend founded Ordinate Corporation to develop a system that would use speech processing technology and linguistic and test theory to provide an automatically delivered and automatically scored spoken language test. The first English test was called PhonePass. It was the first fully computerized test of spoken language using speech recognition technology. In 2002, the name PhonePass was changed to PhonePass SET-10 (Spoken English Test) or simply SET-10. In 2003 Ordinate was acquired by Harcourt Assessment and later in 2005 the name of the test changed to its current name, Versant. In January 2008, Harcourt Assessment (including Ordinate Corporation) was acquired by Pearson and Ordinate Corporation became part of the Knowledge Technologies group of Pearson. In June 2010, Versant Pro Speaking Test and Versant Pro Writing Test, were launched. Versant tests are typically fifteen-minute tests of speaking and listening skills for adult language learners. (Test length varies slightly depending on the test). The test is delivered over the telephone or on a computer and is scored by computer using pre-determined data-driven algorithms. During the test, the system presents a series of recorded prompts at a conversational pace and elicits oral responses from the test-taker. The Versant tests are available as several products:
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