Ordinate Corporation says its Versant Aviation English Test will be available to begin testing pilots and air traffic controllers on July 31 in support of the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements for English language proficiency. Since signing a cooperative research and development agreement in February 2006 with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA
), Ordinate developed a specialized test that measures spoken aviation English proficiency. The test assesses spoken English proficiency levels against the standards for English language set by ICAO to promote enhanced safety. Using the test, airlines and airport authorities can ensure the English proficiency levels of their pilots and controllers meet or exceed the "Operational" Level 4 standard required by ICAO by the March 2008 deadline. The test's automated scoring provides consistent results without the variation of human ratings. Using the Versant provides a more efficient, scaleable option to aviation employers who must certify their employees meet the ICAO standard. The aviation test was designed by aviation industry and linguistic experts. The development team followed a rigorous process to design the test with aviation veterans who have operational, training, and ICAO language committee experience. The test is now complete and undergoing extensive field trials with more than 1,200 pilots and air traffic controllers to confirm its validity and reliability. Versant tests spoken language skills. Ordinate was founded by two Stanford University professors in 1996 to develop advanced language testing systems using speech processing technology and the advanced science of linguistics. Ordinate is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harcourt Assessment, which is part of Reed Elsevier.