Editor’s note: The following piece is shared with TIRF Today readers by Eileen Tyson, Executive Director of Client Relations, Educational Testing Service.
Since its initial launch in 1964, the TOEFL® test has undergone several major revisions motivated by advances in theories of language ability and changes in English teaching practices. The most recent revision, the TOEFL iBT® test, was launched in 2005. It contains a number of innovative design features, including integrated tasks that engage multiple skills to simulate language use in academic settings, and test materials that reflect the reading, listening, speaking, and writing demands of real-world academic environments.
In addition to the TOEFL iBT test, the TOEFL Family of Assessments has been expanded to provide high-quality English proficiency assessments for a variety of academic uses and contexts. The TOEFL® Young Students Series (YSS) features the TOEFL Primary® and TOEFL Junior® tests, which are designed to help teachers and learners of English in school settings. The TOEFL ITP® program offers colleges, universities, and others affordable tests for placement and progress monitoring within English programs.
The recently released TOEFL Family Research website underscores the strong research and development base that underlies the TOEFL Family of Assessments (https://www.ets.org/toefl_family/research/). ETS research is a fundamental feature that underscores the evolution of the TOEFL Family of Assessments, because it is only through a rigorous program of research that a testing company can substantiate claims about what test takers know or can do based on their test scores. In addition, this research provides support for the intended uses of assessments. Highlights of the TOEFL Family Research website include:
- Research reports about important topics related to TOEFL research, such as reliability and validity, assessment and learning, scoring and interpretation, and innovation and technology;
- The TOEFL Research Insight Series, which provides a comprehensive, user-friendly account of the essential concepts, procedures, and research results that assure the quality of scores for all members of the TOEFL Family of Assessments. Topics covered include issues of core interest to test users, for example, how tests were designed, evidence for the reliability and validity of test scores, and research-based recommendations for best practices; and
- TOEFL Research reference list, which includes a bibliography of over 500 publications related to TOEFL research.
For further information, please visit the TOEFL® Family Research Program at https://www.ets.org/toefl_family/research/.