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ERIC Number: EJ857755
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0265-5322
Test Review: Test of English as a Foreign Language[TM]--Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT[R])
Alderson, J. Charles
Language Testing, v26 n4 p621-631 2009
In this article, the author reviews the TOEFL iBT which is the latest version of the TOEFL, whose history stretches back to 1961. The TOEFL iBT was introduced in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Italy in late 2005. Currently the TOEFL test is offered in two testing formats: (1) Internet-based testing (iBT); and (2) paper-based testing (PBT). The TOEFL iBT measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand English as it is spoken, written and heard in academic settings. Crucially, TOEFL iBT is in many ways radically different from earlier versions of TOEFL, in that it is said to be "better aligned to the variety of language use tasks that examinees are expected to encounter in everyday academic life." It includes mandatory speaking and writing sections, and integrated tasks that require test takers to read a text, listen to a lecture or conversation and write or speak a response to what has been read or heard. The separate test of Structure and Written Expression is no longer given, and test takers read or listen to longer written and spoken texts in the reading and listening sections and are allowed to take and refer to notes. TOEFL iBT is delivered via an Internet-based delivery system in Educational Testing Service (ETS)-certified test centres and candidates use the keyboard to input their answers, including writing tasks, and a microphone to record their responses to speaking tasks. The test is linear, not computer-adaptive, and the listening and reading sections have both a long version and a short version. The long version includes experimental, pre-test, research, or equating questions. Each test taker receives a long version of either listening or reading, but not both, thus ensuring that all test takers are given tests that are comparable in length. As it is impossible to tell which questions are experimental, candidates have to do their best on all. TOEFL iBT represents a major step forward in testing language proficiency for academic purposes. Challenges remain, inevitably, in terms of the low reliability of the Writing test (the addition of e-rater[R] may enhance reliability), possible construct-irrelevant variance in the Reading and Listening tests, and construct under-representation in the Speaking and Writing tests, but a continuing programme of research will hopefully continue to refine and improve the test further. (Contains 3 footnotes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; France; Germany; Italy
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Test of English as a Foreign Language