Tuesday, 19 October 2010

JobStreet English language assessment tops one million mark

I don't know how many people are registered currently within JobStreet.com's domain of job seekers in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Thailand. The official statistics say seven million but the actual number could possibly be higher.

Anyway, I've just learnt that on 11 Oct 2010, the job seekers who have taken the online assessments or practices for the JobStreet English Language Assessment (JobStreet ELA) product has surpassed the one million mark.

I am overwhelmed by this piece of information. The JobStreet ELA had been a project very close to my heart in the last 18 months of my stay at JobStreet.com. It was a project that I saw through from the first day until its launch. Altogether, I went through 5,000 objective questions on the English language broken down into four groups. As meticulously as I could, I had subjected them to real tests across a wide spectrum of people to ensure the questions' consistency and integrity.

If I remember correctly, only about 2,400 questions were used subsequently at the launch of this product.  Presumably, the rest may be deployed later in the existing or other formats. From these 2,400 questions which are sub-divided into the above four groups of 600 questions each, the system picks 40 at random - 10 questions from each group - whenever an assessment or a practice test is taken, and they must be answered within 20 minutes. So it's also a race with the clock.

I am no mathematician but I am told that even with these 2400 questions alone, the number of permutations are horrendously large and there is practically no chance of a same set of 40 questions repeating. Perhaps someone mathematically savvy enough can go estimate the number of permutations. It may be close to 10 followed by 80 zeros, give or take a few zeros.

Anyway, when the one millionth mark was breached on 11 Oct 2010, it had been 342 days since JobStreet ELA was launched in Malaysia (4 Nov 2009) and 314 days for the Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand markets (2 Dec 2009). My source also told me that 48 percent of these tests were taken in the Philippines, 34 percent taken in Malaysia, 10 percent in Indonesia, seven percent in Singapore and one percent in Thailand.

Looking at the information from another angle, this also meant that on average there are about 3,000 job seekers sitting for the tests on any given day or about 130 tests being taken simultaneously per hour. And they have already spent 20 million minutes of their time on the JobStreet ELA. A mind-boggling thought just entered my head: if I string the one million tests together one by one, this is equivalent to 333,333 hours or 13,888 days or 38 years of continuous computing time.

So if you say that I'm happy, you are darn right. I am proud of my work. I am proud that this has come to fruition. I'm proud that I've left a mark on the company and hopefully, it will be a long-lasting mark. Nevertheless, there is a personal disappointment that remains till this day. Unfortunately, it is not for me to mention it here.


Chen Chow said...

SS, great to read your this post! Great to have the chance to work with you on this JobStreet English Language Assessment.

Yeah, it is exciting to see this JobStreet ELA crossed 1 Million mark. You definitely play a big part in making it happen!

DailyPostScript said...

I took JELA last July and got 39/40 for an employer requiring a quick check on my English proficiency. 27 days after I got the job! I myself was satisfied with the analytics as it boosted my confidence.