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Developing Analytic Rating Guides for TOEFL iBT Integrated Speaking Tasks

Jamieson, Joan; Poonpon, Kornwipa
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-13-13, TOEFLiBT-20
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Ability Testing English as a Second Language (ESL) Formative Assessment Grammar Internet Based Testing (iBT) Oral Communication Phonology Scoring Rubrics Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Verbal Reports


Research and development of a new type of scoring rubric for the integrated speaking tasks of TOEFL iBT are described. These analytic rating guides could be helpful if tasks modeled after those in TOEFL iBT were used for formative assessment, a purpose that is different from TOEFL iBT’s primary use for admission decisions. Two questions motivated the project: What can be done to make the criteria and standards for good performance clear not only to English language teachers and their students but also to novice raters? How can test takers be guided in the steps necessary to improve performance? Previous research, quantitative results of linguistic features present in spoken responses, and qualitative themes of raters’ judgments were analyzed. Salient features associated with performance were then synthesized to develop three analytic rating guides, each using a series of yes/no questions. The rating guides expanded the current scoring scales for the three dimensions of delivery, language use, and topic development, so that key features of increasingly proficient speaking performance were described in more detail. Suggestions for future validation studies are provided in terms of an iterative process of trials and revisions.

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