TOEFL® 2000 Reading Framework: A Working Paper

Enright, Mary K.; Grabe, William; Koda, Keiko; Mosenthal, Peter; Mulcahy-Ernt, Patricia; Schedl, Mary
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RM-00-04, TOEFL-MS-17
Document Type:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic reading purposes new test design reading to learn reading multiple texts


The TOEFL® 2000 framework monograph (Jamieson, Jones, Kirsch, Mosenthal, & Taylor, 2000) identifies a test domain and lays out a process for the design of a new TOEFL test based on communicative language abilities. This monograph on the assessment of reading comprehension addresses the proposed TOEFL 2000 framework described in Jamieson et al. and defines how it can be realized and implemented in a test of reading comprehension. The reading framework described in this document was developed by the authors--internal ETS staff and external reading experts--who have worked together over the past two years. This monograph documents how three broad perspectives were considered in defining the construct of reading comprehension for assessment purposes: a processing perspective, a task perspective, and a reader purpose perspective. The reader purpose perspective is recommended to guide the new test design for a number of reasons. One perceived advantage of this approach is that it is readily interpretable. It will be easier for test-score users, teachers, and examinees to understand how the construct is being defined. At the same time, the reader purpose perspective is seen to be compatible with both the processing perspective and the task perspective. Four purposes for reading in the academic context are identified: reading to find information, reading for basic comprehension, reading to learn, and reading to integrate information across multiple texts. These four reading purposes are seen to form a natural hierarchy that can serve as a basis for describing a continuum of reading proficiency. The first two purposes are addressed in the current TOEFL reading test format. The third and fourth purposes, reading to learn and reading to integrate information across multiple texts, would expand the construct being measured. Some tasks that might be used to assess reading for different purposes are described. Finally, technological issues specific to the delivery of the reading test are described and a detailed research agenda related to the reading construct described in this document is provided.

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