What’s NEW About the New TOEFL® Test
What’s NEW About the New TOEFL® Test
And why is it changing?
The new TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) was created to:
Measure your ability to communicate your ideas in an academic setting — the new test helps you confirm that you are ready to participate in academic coursework and campus life, and it helps institutions select students with the English communication skills needed to succeed.
Replicate real life — the new integrated tasks that combine more than one skill reflect how we use language every day. By preparing for TOEFL iBT, you also prepare for communicating in real university situations and life.
Focus on how well you use English, not just what you know about it — In the past, language learning focused on learning about the language (especially grammar), and students would receive high scores on tests without necessarily having the ability to communicate. Now teachers and learners alike understand the importance of using English to communicate, and activities that focus on communication and integrating (combining) skills are very popular in many English language programs.
What are the main new features of the TOEFL iBT test?
It tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The emphasis is on using English to communicate.
It is approximately four hours long. All test sections can be taken in one day, so there is no need to travel to a test center twice.
It is delivered via the Internet in secure test centers around the world. In those areas where TOEFL iBT has not yet been introduced, the paper-based and computer-based versions of the TOEFL test will continue to be administered until TOEFL iBT is available in those areas.
Some questions require you to combine, or integrate, more than one skill. Being able to combine language skills by speaking or writing about material that you read and listen to is essential in an academic setting. TOEFL iBT helps you prove you can combine your skills to communicate your ideas effectively, which is the key to academic success. The new integrated tasks ask you to:
Read, listen, then speak in response to a question
Listen, then speak in response to a question
Read, listen, then write in response to a question
A Speaking section has been added. This section includes six tasks, and you wear headphones and speak into a microphone when you respond. The responses are recorded and sent to ETS’ Online Scoring Network, where three to six certified ETS raters evaluate them. The raters are constantly monitored for accuracy and maximum score reliability.
The Writing section has been expanded. The new test requires you to write a response to material you have read and listened to, and to compose an essay in support of an opinion. The responses are evaluated by a minimum of four certified ETS raters via the Online Scoring Network.
There is no longer a Structure section, but grammar is tested in all four sections of the test.
Note taking is allowed. You can take notes on any section of the test and use them when answering questions. After testing, notes are collected and shredded before you leave the test center.
The new scores help to better explain your English-language skill level. ETS provides scoring information that includes four skill scores and a total score. You also receive performance feedback on your score report that states what you can do at your level and includes advice on how you can improve.
Scores are reported online. You can view scores online fifteen business days after the test, as well as receive a copy of your score report by mail. Colleges, universities and organizations will be able to view scores online in the future, and they will continue to receive scores using their current delivery method.
Frequently Asked Questions About TOEFL® iBT
BODY By category, here are some of the questions that students most frequently ask about the new TOEFL test.
Why did the test change?
TOEFL iBT is carefully designed to replicate university life. The new test better measures your ability to communicate your ideas in an academic setting and helps to confirm you are ready to participate in academic coursework and campus life. It allows you to demonstrate that you can combine language skills by speaking or writing about material that you read and listen to, which is the key to academic success. It also helps institutions select students with the English communication skills needed to succeed.
What is different about TOEFL iBT?
· The TOEFL iBT test has a new Speaking section, which includes independent tasks as well as integrated tasks in which you need to respond to material that you have read and listened to.
· There is no longer a Structure section, but grammar is indirectly tested in each section.
· Note taking is allowed throughout the test.
· The lectures and conversations in the Listening section are longer, but the language sounds much more like real life. Also, there are new types of questions that measure understanding of a speaker’s attitude, degree of purpose and certainty.
· The Reading section has new questions that ask test takers to categorize information and fill in a chart or complete a summary.
· In the Writing section, typing is required. There is an integrated task in addition to the independent task, and the scoring guides for rating are different from those used for the current test.
When will the new test be available in my area?
TOEFL iBT was first introduced in September 2005 and is being phased in throughout the world in 2006. The computer-based test and/or the paper-based test may be available in an area until the TOEFL iBT is introduced there. Consult the TOEFL Web site at www.ets.org/toefl for the rollout schedule and to find out what testing format is available in your area.
How is the new test administered?
The new test is administered on fixed dates in a network of secure Internet-based test centers. Internet-based testing makes it possible to greatly expand the number of test centers in what is already the world’s largest testing network. Most areas where TOEFL iBT is offered have 30 to 40 administrations a year, but the number varies based on the number of test takers and the test center capacity. Consult the Web site at www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/testcenters.html to find the test center nearest you, and its available test dates.
Why use Internet-based testing?
Internet-based testing makes it possible to capture and score Speaking responses in the most efficient, standardized and objective manner. Internet-based testing also makes it possible to greatly increase the number of test centers.
Is the new test really different?
TOEFL iBT uses an entirely new approach. For the first time ever, the TOEFL test will assess your ability to integrate English skills and to communicate about what you read and listen to.
Is the new test more difficult than the previous test?
The TOEFL iBT Reading and Listening sections are not drastically different from those on the previous tests. The integrated tasks on the TOEFL iBT Speaking and Writing sections may be considered more challenging because they are new. However, to succeed in an academic setting you must be able to communicate about what you have read and listened to. So, the new integrated tasks allow you to demonstrate that you are ready to enter an academic setting and effectively communicate your ideas.
What other benefits does the new test provide?
The addition of the Speaking section, the inclusion of tasks that require integration of skills and the emphasis on communication will have a great impact on how English is taught in the future. Once you prepare for the TOEFL iBT, you can feel confident that you are also well-prepared for academic success.
Who else benefits from the new test?
Admissions officials and faculty at colleges and universities, as well as administrators of certification and licensing agencies, are provided with better information on their applicants’ English communication skills.