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Updated 2022-11-30 14:24:02

Many students may feel that the ETS suddenly announced the reform without warning, which surprised everyone. Many students also have some problems with the adjustment of the examination process and the number of questions. ETS officially issued a FAQ to answer the questions, and the following editor will make a detailed analysis for the candidates. The English part of the following content is quoted from ETS official, and the original link is

Why shorten the examination process? ( Why is the TOEFL iBT? test being shortened? )

Our goal has always been to provide the best academic English test, both for students who take the test and for institutions that rely on the scores to make important decisions.

For test takers, a shorter TOEFL iBT test will make for a better testing experience.  It could lessen fatigue and improve focus and performance, helping them to show their best.

Most important, the shorter test maintains its quality.  A test should only be as long as is necessary to provide acc urate information about the critical abilities being measured, but not longer.  Over time we have been a ble t o gather a wealth of TOEFL iBT test taker performance data.  After careful review of t he data, we have determined the test can be shortened without s acrificing test quality or score validity.  This was done by applying research to maintain test quality through various statistical procedures a nd application of advanced assessment technology.

Interpretation of the editor:

This question should be the most frequently asked by examinees. Why should the examination process be shortened suddenly? The official explanation for this is to improve the examinee's examination experience, so that everyone can better play and show their true level and strength through the examination. At the same time, the official also stressed that he had "planned for a long time" for this adjustment, had already done a series of tests and data analysis, and finally confirmed that shortening the examination process and reducing the number of questions would not affect the quality of TOEFL itself, so he made this reform.

Of course, we agree with the small group on improving the examination experience. Earlier this year, GMAC also made a process shortening adjustment to the GMAT examination, which shows that the major examination institutions are still quite considerate of the examinees. And to be honest, the original three-and-a-half hour TOEFL test process was also a bit long. Many students were exhausted, thirsty and hungry after the test. It was a bit sad when they left the test room and had already passed lunch. This half-hour reduction will indeed improve the test experience of the examinee. However, it is still hard to say whether the quality of the exam will change. At least because the number of questions is reduced, the proportion of question types in the three subjects of listening, speaking and reading will certainly change, and the corresponding scoring method from raw score to scaled score will also change. It is still hard to say whether the examinee will really reduce the actual physical difficulty of the exam at this stage. Don't take it lightly because you think the exam will be easier. Everything should be based on the actual situation of the exam after August 1.

Does ETS research show that this reform will not affect the high quality of examinations? ( Does ETS research show that the changes do not affect the high quality of the test? )

Yes.  To support the continued hi gh quality of the reported scores, ETS researchers conducted a study to evaluate the psychometric properties of the shortened test using several typical administrations of the TOEFL iBT test at different time points throughout 2018.  A comparison of the reliability estimates for the TOEFL iBT test in its previous longer version and in its shorter version revealed that there is no meaningful effect on test reliability as a result of shortening the test.  In other words, the high quality of the TOEFL iBT test scores is maintained.

Reasonably, this question is not like a question that examinees will ask, but more like a question that examination education institutions pay more attention to. In a word, the general idea of this answer is that ETS has analyzed a lot of data for this reform statistical research, and has also conducted a full year of practical testing in 2018. The final conclusion is that although the reform process has been shortened, the quality of the examination, especially the value of the score, is still fully guaranteed.

The highlight of this answer is the last sentence, that is, the high quality of the TOEFL iBT test scores is maintained. It can be seen from TOEFL reading comprehension that the quality of test score is maintained. In other words, ETS believes that the test scores before and after the reform are equivalent. Not only has the presentation form of scores not changed, but the full score of a single subject is still 30 points and the total score is 120 points, and the value of scores is identical. This sentence is tantamount to giving the examinee a reassurance. The subtext is that you can rest assured that the scores before and after August 1 will be treated equally. Of course, whether this is the case depends on the actual receiver of the score, that is, the attitude of the applicant's school. The following question and answer just go on.

Should colleges and universities modify the score requirements? ( Should universities change their score requirements? )

There is no need for universities t o change their score requirements.  The new, shortened version measures the same language skills in the same ways using the same question types, just with fewer questions.  Also, the score scales for the four test sections and the total score remain the same.

This question is closely followed by the previous one, which is also a concern of everyone. That is how the applicant school views the TOEFL reform and the subsequent scores. The official answer is actually a bit ambiguous. ETS obviously does not want colleges and universities to adjust the TOEFL score requirements for admission due to the reform, so it also emphasizes that the test requirements for language skills of examinees are the same as before, and the overall setting and score composition of the test have not changed.

As far as the current situation is concerned, no school has jumped out to directly support or oppose this change, and no school has made it clear whether it will adjust its admission score requirements. Perhaps the school itself is also waiting for the actual situation of the follow-up exam. However, I believe that ETS, as an authoritative examination institution, cannot make changes and adjustments without greeting the universities, so these changes are likely to be tacitly approved by the universities. In fact, you don't need to worry too much about the devaluation or appreciation of TOEFL scores in the future. It is the best policy to focus on the test itself.

Will the shortened test affect the benchmarking between TOEFL scores and EFR? ( Will the shortened test affect the mapping of TOEFL iBT scores to CEFR levels? )

The shortened test will not impact the CEFR mapping.  The score scale remains the same and the same language s kills are being measured.

Before the interpretation, I will give you an explanation of popular science terms. The full name of CEFR is The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is the common framework standard for European languages. It is a standard system used to describe the progress of foreign language learners in Europe and other countries. We are familiar with language tests, such as TOEFL Different foreign language tests, such as BEC, can roughly describe the language ability of learners and benchmark against this standard. To put it simply, it means how many points you have scored in TOEFL and what level CEFR is.

This question is mainly for students from European countries who apply for TOEFL scores. As we all know, TOEFL test scores are not only applicable in the United States. Many universities in European countries will also refer to their TOEFL scores when accepting applications. The answer to this question is to tell you that before and after the reform, there will be no change in the benchmarking standards of TOEFL test scores and CEFR. The original TOEFL score corresponds to what level of CEFR, but now it still corresponds to the same level. If you are going to apply to schools in some European countries with TOEFL scores, you can be more reassured by knowing this.

The above is the interpretation of the official FAQ of TOEFL reform brought by the small editor. I believe it can help you answer some common questions about this reform.

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