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Skill Assessment FAQ
Skill Assessment Supplementary Feedback
The transcriber’s goal is to capture spoken content clearly, accurately, and completely. A Skill Assessment is a snapshot in time, demonstrating one’s ability to meet this goal while transcribing the audio from a real classroom lecture or discussion.
Possible scores on the TypeWell Skill Assessment
Why the first two scores are grouped together
What to make of results that are surprising or disappointing
How the scores are determined
Why the marked-up transcript is not shared
Why the Skill Assessment report is not more highly detailed
Additional feedback is available for those who want it
Skill Assessment vs. Skill Consultation
How TypeWell will use or share the Skill Assessment information
How transcribers (and employers) can use the Skill Assessment information
The qualitative rankings on a Skill Assessment report are based on the transcriber’s demonstrated skill relative to other transcribers’ performance on the same assessment.
Rate of content captured: Very High — High — Moderate — Low — Very Low
- Clarity / Accuracy / Completeness: Excellent— Good— Fair — Needs Improvement — Needs Considerable Improvement
Grammar: Excellent — Good — Fair — Needs Improvement — Needs Considerable Improvement
- Formatting: Excellent — Good — Fair — Needs Improvement — Needs Considerable Improvement
- Technical skills: Excellent — Good — Fair — Needs Improvement — Needs Considerable Improvement
Here's an example of a Skill Assessment report on a transcriber's Educational History page:
The Rate of content captured is based on the percentage of scored content that was captured in the transcript. No matter how much information is captured, the transcript must also be clearly worded and accurate. These first two scores, therefore, convey the transcriber’s demonstrated ability in two critical areas of communication access.
When a transcript is riddled with oddly-worded sentences, grammatical mistakes, or factual inaccuracies, then a consumer must work harder to understand the speaker’s intended message and follow the conversation. It’s easier to read and quickly understand a real-time transcript that is clear and accurate, even if there are minor gaps in the flow of information.
Some transcribers and employers will be surprised at the results of a Skill Assessment, especially if a strong, experienced transcriber earns low marks in certain skill areas. The rest of this article is intended to help you understand how to interpret and understand those results.
For the Rate of content captured, a score of “Low” indicates that the transcript contained a low percentage of information relative to what other experienced transcribers were able to capture. This doesn’t mean the individual is a poor transcriber! It means they could be missing some info when they’re transcribing, and they may need to work on their abbreviation skills, typing speed, short-term memory, chunking/condensing skills, etc.
A score of “Very Low” means the transcript contained a lower percentage of main points than what newbie transcribers are required to capture to graduate from the Basic Skills Course.
Here are some possible reasons why an experienced transcriber might capture a “Low” or “Very Low” rate of content on the Skill Assessment:
The transcriber’s performance on the Skill Assessment may not be representative of their true skill level. As with any test/assessment, their performance may have been affected by nerves, fatigue, pressure, or distraction. Some people are not good at testing.
The Basic Skills Course only lasts 2-3 months, after which many transcribers enter the classroom and begin providing communication access without oversight, mentoring, feedback, or continuing education. These transcribers often develop habits or peculiarities that are not ideal. This Skill Assessment may be the first time they have received feedback on those habits since taking the Basic Skills Course.
The transcriber may have completed their TypeWell Basic Skills Course many years ago when the standards for typing speed and content capture were much lower than today’s standards.
- The transcriber’s typing speed, abbreviation usage, and ability to capture/condense spoken information have not increased significantly since they passed the Basic Skills Course. That is, the transcriber is capturing about the same rate of info they were able to capture when they completed their training. TypeWell expects transcribers to capture more information as they gain experience working in the classroom; thus, the “Low” category ranges from at to slightly above the minimum requirement for newbies in the Basic Skills Course.
For the other skill areas, such as Grammar and Formatting, the “Needs Improvement” category means the transcript contained a high number of errors in that particular area. Errors that adversely affect a reader’s ability keep up with the fast flow of information — especially errors that would leave a reader with the wrong information — are more heavily weighted, to bring down the score more than minor punctuation or spelling errors.
Each transcript is manually graded by a team of trained scorers. The identity of the transcriber is withheld from the scorers. Double-blind scoring is employed (i.e. where scorers can’t see one another’s scores) in order to provide multiple, independent readings.
The detailed quantitative data are tallied and transferred into a weighted scoring rubric. These quantitative measures include, but are not limited to, the skills listed in TypeWell’s Transcript Analysis Checklist.
Examples of mistakes that can hurt your score:
- Message Content: inaccurate content, unclear wording, unfinished sentences, obvious gaps between ideas, missing transitions, inappropriate vocabulary substitutions, no mention of relevant silent activities
- Grammar: incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, ambiguous pronouns, punctuation errors, subject/verb disagreement, verb tense mistakes
- Formatting: too much white space, not enough white space, white space inserted in the wrong places (with respect to topic organization), inappropriate use or formatting of transcriber comments, inaccurate speaker identification
- Technical Skills: low usage of abbreviations, low usage of quick correction keys (comma cycle and semicolon), excessive backspace runs, greater than 3 edits/error corrections per minute, uncorrected typos, capitalization errors
TypeWell’s weighted scoring rubric is proprietary, and quantitative data and thresholds will not be shared. However, we do plan to develop a mock Skill Assessment lecture with accompanying scoring guideline, so that transcribers and coordinators can become more familiar with the process.
Unfortunately, we cannot share people's transcripts of the Skill Assessment, as doing so would compromise the integrity of the assessment. The Skill Assessment is designed to be a tool for uniformly evaluating transcribers' skills, which is why the scoring process (outlined above) is so time-consuming.
Because some employers are using this tool to inform their pay scales and leveling process, the content of the lecture cannot be compromised.
Accuracy and consistency are what transcribers and employers have identified as the most important features of a valid Skill Assessment.
To supply each transcriber with in-depth analysis and prioritized strategies for improvement would take much more time and would increase the cost of the Skill Assessment. This is why we make the supplementary feedback optional.
When we post Skill Assessment report (with the qualitative rankings) on the Educational History page, we also email the transcriber a list of 3-5 areas for improvement. For many transcribers, this is sufficient feedback to develop or revise their goals for the coming year. Many transcribers are already aware of which skills they need to improve because they regularly evaluate their own work or they receive mentoring and feedback outside of the Skill Assessment.
The optional supplementary feedback is ideal for transcribers who:
- aren't really sure what their weaknesses are;
- need guidance in prioritizing which skills to target (i.e., which areas have the greatest impact on consumers);
- don't receive mentoring or feedback from their peers or supervisors; or
- are struggling to understand the results of their Skill Assessment.
If you are seeking comprehensive feedback and you do not need to assess your skills relative to other transcribers, consider doing a Skill Consultation. This is a more personalized service that has been offered by TypeWell since 2014.
Benefits of a Skill Consultation (which are NOT part of this Skill Assessment) include the ability to:
- choose your own lecture topic;
- watch a screencast recording of your real-time work;
- review your transcript against the audio;
- see specific examples of wording/phrasing in your own transcript that could be improved;
- receive feedback within a day or two of the observation, while the lecture is still fresh in your mind (vs. 6-8 weeks for the Skill Assessment); and
- participate in an hour-long discussion with an experienced TypeWell Teacher, to consider the underlying causes of the errors/patterns and then identify strategies based on those.
TypeWell will not share a transcriber’s Educational History page except in cases where an employer paid for the transcriber’s Skill Assessment.
Over time, we may identify patterns among many transcribers, which will guide our future development of training materials and continuing education courses.
Focus less on the overall scores and more on how to use the results to improve your real-time transcribing skills.
Here are some ideas:
Order the supplementary feedback so you know exactly what types of errors you made on the Skill Assessment and what you can do to correct those issues.
Review the email feedback that your TypeWell Teacher provided during your Basic Skills Course as well as the list of "Skills to Improve" noted below the Basic Skills Course entry on your Educational History page (if applicable). Our research shows that most transcribers continue to struggle with the same problem patterns, even well after their initial training.
To capture more content, boost your typing speed by learning to use the Turbo abbreviations. The Turbo I Courselet can be completed in 30 days or less.
If you took the Basic Skills Course many years ago, sign up for the TypeWell Refresher Course.
Sign up for a Skill Consultation for one-on-one, individualized support from an experienced TypeWell Teacher.
How can we improve this article? Please email us to let us know if you have other questions that should be addressed above.