- It tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The emphasis will be on using English to communicate.
- It will be delivered via the Internet in secure test centers around the world. Once the new test is introduced in an area, the computer-based and paper-based tests will no longer be offered there.
- Some tasks require test takers to combine more than one skill. To succeed academically in Englishspeaking colleges and universities, students need to be able to combine their language skills in the classroom. New integrated questions, or “tasks,” help students build the confidence needed to communicate in the academic environments they plan to enter. The new integrated tasks will ask test takers 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
- The new TOEFL test includes a Speaking section. This section includes six tasks, and test takers wear headphones and speak into a microphone when they respond. The responses are digitally recorded and transmitted to ETS’s Online Scoring Network, where human raters evaluate them. The raters are carefully monitored for accuracy, so test takers and score recipients can be assured of the reliability of the Speaking scores.
- The Writing section has been expanded. The new test requires test takers to write a response to material they have heard and read, and to compose an essay in support of an opinion. Human raters also evaluate the responses to the Writing tasks via ETS’s Online Scoring Network.
- The new test is approximately 4.0 hours long. All test sections will be completed in one day, so there is no need to travel to the test center twice.
- Note taking is allowed. Test takers can take notes on any section of the test and they can use those notes when answering the questions. After testing, notes are collected and shredded before the test takers leave the test center.
- The new scores help to explain test takers’ English language ability. ETS provides comprehensive scoring information that will include scores for four skills and a total score. Competency descriptors for each skill and level can be found on pages 65-70 and are available at ets.org/toefl/nextgen. These descriptors help to explain what the new scores mean. In addition, test takers will receive helpful performance feedback on their score reports.
- The new scores will be reported online. Beginning in September 2005, test takers will be able to view scores online 15 business days after the test, as well as receive a copy of their score report by mail. Colleges and universities will be able to view scores online starting in 2006, but they will also continue to receive scores via their current delivery method.
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