By John Yargo, eHow Contributor
updated: June 15, 2010
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the standardized test by which the English-language skills of non-native speakers are evaluated. The test is required by most colleges and some employers to make sure students and employees are capable of handling the linguistic challenges of cultural immersion. The test is designed by the Center for Applied Linguistics and administered by the Educational Testing Service.
1. Based in Washington, D.C., the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is a nonprofit organization committed to researching the relationship between language and culture. Founded in 1959, its first director was Charles A. Ferguson (1921-1998), who had administered similar programs in the Middle East and taught as a professor at Harvard University. Ferguson guided the center to develop practical solutions for the applied language and literacy concerns of international and national governments.
2. One of Ferguson’s earliest projects was to develop a test that would quantify the command of the language that ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language) students and government employees had. Ferguson and fellow applied linguistics researchers developed the TOEFL test for the first five years of the CAL. In 1964, the first official TOEFL test was taken at the center.
3. Since the late 1960s, the TOEFL test has been administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), an international standardized-testing organization. According to ETS, between 1964 and 2008, 24 million people, largely international students, have taken the test. Introduced in 2005, the Internet-based test has replaced the computer-based and paper-based formats, with the computer-based results ruled no longer valid as of 2006.
4. Since the early 1970s, the 15-member TOEFL board has dealt with specific problems regarding the organization. This board is comprised of educators and government and industry representatives who are involved in international education. A board of 12 language specialists form the TOEFL Committee of Examiners, which addresses any concerns with the test’s content and methodology, keeping the test valid.
Composition of Test
5. Since 1998, the paper test has been made up of 30 listening-based questions, 40 “written-expression” questions, 50 reading-comprehension questions, and a 300-word essay. The Internet-based test includes four sections: answering questions on a 700-word passage and questions on 30 minutes of an audio sample, as well as six speaking and written-composition tasks. The Internet-based test has also implemented tables and other formats into the test. http://www.ehow.com/about_6628612_toefl-history.html
Countries Which Require TOEFL TEST
Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL)is required to get admission in U.S. Universities for International students. ETS have reported average TOEFL scores for all the countries where TOEFL exam is offered.
List Of Countries And Required Scores:
TOEFL scores for Chinese – On the raise: Performance of examinees who took the TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) between January and December 2007. The report shows that the mean score for Chinese test takers was 78, a two-point increase over 2006. The mean score for Chinese test takers now matches the worldwide average of 78.
• India – 84
• Japan – 65
• Bangladesh – 83
• Germany – 97
• France – 88
Average TOEFL scores of students with different native languages:
• Hindi – 93
• Tamil – 96
• Telugu – 74
• Kannada – 96
• Chinese – 77
• Marathi – 97
• Russian – 83
• Bengali – 91
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