English Language Learning and Assessment Worldwide

ETS has a long history of supporting research on global assessments for adult and older adolescent English learners who need to demonstrate English proficiency for academic or job-related purposes. Our research on assessments for younger learners in recent years has provided a strong research foundation for newly introduced assessments that target elementary and middle school students in global contexts — the TOEFL® Primary™ tests and the TOEFL Junior® Standard and Comprehensive tests.

Our research in this area has aims such as these:

  • Validity and Fairness Frameworks — We conduct foundational research with the aim of providing conceptual frameworks to guide the practice of developing fair and valid assessments.
  • Test Design Frameworks and Principles — We develop new test design frameworks and principles that are theoretically-grounded and practically applicable.
  • Quality — We maintain an ongoing program of research to support and continuously improve existing testing programs. As part of this focus on quality, we also conduct foundational research with the aim of understanding language development, identifying factors that may affect test-taker performances, understanding rater behaviors and improving practices in test scoring.
  • Innovation — We seek to design new measures, in particular those that utilize new methods and language technologies to support English learning and instruction.

Research Related to ETS Testing Programs

  • The TOEFL iBT® test — Learn more about the research we conduct to support this assessment of students' ability to use English for communication at the university level across the globe.
  • The TOEIC® tests — Learn more about the research we conduct to support this assessment of test-takers' ability to use English for communication in the global workplace.

Foundational Research

In addition to the publications that our research professionals have authored in direct support of the TOEFL® and TOEIC tests, our English Language Learning and Assessment research initiative publishes or funds works related to foundational research in an international context. Topics of such research include validity and fairness frameworks; test design frameworks and principles; quality; and innovation. Below are some recent publications:

Validity and Fairness Frameworks
Test Design Frameworks and Principles
Quality
Innovation
 

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Our Work in English Language Learning

ELL

Learn more in this brief interview with Xiaoming Xi, Senior Research Director at ETS (Flash, 3:06).

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