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MetaMetrics Partners With SoapBox Labs to Offer Edtech Companies Voice-Enabled Reading Assessments

Now edtech companies can leverage MetaMetrics’ Lexile Framework and SoapBox’s voice engine to develop automated and accurate oral reading fluency assessments

MetaMetrics, developer of the widely adopted Lexile Framework, and SoapBox Labs, provider of specialist speech recognition technology for kids, announced a partnership to automate the evaluation of oral reading fluency for students preK-12 using voice-enabled assessments.

The Lexile Framework for Oral Reading measures the oral readability of a text based on Words Correct Per Minute (WCPM) but also uniquely takes into account the difficulty of the passage the student is tested on. With this new partnership, the time-consuming manual calculation of a student’s oral reading measure is replaced by a voice-enabled approach that’s automated, reliable and proven. The dynamic feedback loop offered by the SoapBox voice engine also allows young students’ proficiency to be benchmarked more regularly, giving teachers better data and insights to help even the youngest learners build foundational reading skills.

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“For decades, we’ve imagined the vast potential for speech recognition technology when it comes to measuring a child’s reading fluency. Developed by applying learning technology to thousands of hours of children’s speech, SoapBox Labs’ voice engine offers a world-class platform for delivering our Lexile oral reading measures to learners around the world,” said Dr. Malbert Smith, CEO and co-founder, MetaMetrics. “With an increasing number of students lagging behind in reading, it is more important now than ever before to gain insights that will accelerate children’s literacy development.”

SoapBox Labs’ deep understanding of how children acquire language and literacy, including the unique qualities of young children’s phonics, has allowed their speech recognition technology to accurately and efficiently automate the scoring of oral reading, similar to how a teacher might in the classroom. In evaluating SoapBox Labs’ technology, MetaMetrics researchers found a very high correlation between the SoapBox voice engine and human annotators when assessing for oral reading fluency, surpassing their rigorous criteria for approved partners. The evaluation also found no meaningful difference between the scores generated by SoapBox’s voice engine and human assessors.

“The Lexile Framework has, for years, provided parents, educators — and learners — with understanding and insights to unlock reading potential at nearly every level,” said Dr. Martyn Farrows, CEO, SoapBox Labs. “Measurement of oral reading fluency is such a natural and important application of our voice technology. We are immensely proud to have our voice engine validated by a partner as fundamental and iconic to literacy learning as MetaMetrics, and to partner with them as we create a new era of literacy assessment.”

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