Research and Design
ETS has rigorously pursued ongoing research to ensure test quality for more than 50 years. Using a high-quality test means more accurate decisions about international applicants for your institution.
Our in-depth Classroom Needs Assessment identifies the skills students need to succeed in an academic environment. Only those tasks that demonstrate test takers’ academic English-language proficiency are included in the test.
We have issued more than 150 research reports to provide a strong research base to support our test design — so you can be sure you’re making an accurate decision about academic English-language proficiency.
Development and Analysis Process
- Creating test questions based on test specifications
- Administering questions
- Analyzing results
- Rejecting or revising questions
- Releasing test questions in a test form
Some of the Latest Studies Include:
- Mary K. Enright, Joan M. Jamieson and Carol A. Chapelle (2007). Building a Validity Argument for the Test of English as a Foreign Language™ (Routledge Student Publications)
- Bridgeman, B. (Forthcoming). Comparison of human and machine scores on the TOEFL iBT speaking test as indicators of communicative language proficiency
- Sawaki, Y., & Nissan, S. (2009). Criterion-related validity of the TOEFL iBT® listening section (TOEFL iBT-08). Princeton, NJ: ETS
- Wall, D., & Horák, T. (2006). The impact of changes in the TOEFL examination on teaching: Phase 1, The baseline study (TOEFL-MS-34). Princeton, NJ: ETS
- Wall, D., & Horák, T. (2008). The impact of changes in the TOEFL® examination on teaching and learning in Central and Eastern Europe: Phase 2, Measuring change (TOEFL iBT-05). Princeton, NJ: ETS
"The TOEFL test is without a doubt the best-researched language test in the world."
— Tim McNamara, Professor, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Australia
ETS and the TOEFL® Board sponsor TOEFL grants and awards each year for work in foreign- and second-language research, teaching or assessment in international higher education. Find out more.
Among admissions officers surveyed, and who expressed a preference*, four out of five prefer the TOEFL test.
* Source: Survey of 263 admissions officers at U.S. universities, of which 212 accept both the TOEFL test and the IELTS™ test and 152 state a preference.