Designing the TOEFL iBT® Test

The framework of the TOEFL iBT® test is based on the principle of evidence-centered design; that is, test developers construct tasks specifically with the aim of eliciting evidence about what test takers know and can do in the target areas. When they revised the framework for the redesigned test that debuted in 2005, the creators of the TOEFL iBT test applied state-of-the-art research about the following:

  • the nature of academic language ability
  • innovative academic test tasks
  • advanced measurement theories and models
  • the test's potential impact on English language learning and teaching

Featured Publications

These are some publications related to the design of the TOEFL iBT test:

Representing Academic Language Ability

Representing Language Use in the University: Analysis of the TOEFL® 2000 Spoken and Written Academic Language Corpus
D. Biber, S.M. Conrad, R. Reppen, P. Byrd, M. Helt, V. Clark, V. Cortes, E. Csomay, & A. Urzua (2004)
TOEFL Report MS-25

The Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Tasks Important for Academic Success at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels
M. Rosenfeld, S. Leung, & P.K. Oltman (2001)
TOEFL Report MS-21

TOEFL® 2000 Speaking Framework: A Working Paper
F.A. Butler, D. Eignor, J. Dan, Stan, T. McNamara, & B.K. Suomi (2000)
TOEFL Report MS-20

TOEFL® 2000 Listening Framework: A Working Paper
I. Bejar, D. Douglas, J. Jamieson, S. Nissan, & J. Turner (2000)
TOEFL Report MS-19

TOEFL® 2000 Writing Framework: A Working Paper
A. Cumming, R. Kantor, D.E. Powers, T. Santos, & C. Taylor (2000)
TOEFL Report MS-18

TOEFL® 2000 Reading Framework: A Working Paper
M.K. Enright, W. Grabe, K. Koda, P. Mosenthal, P. Mulcahy-Ernt, & M. Schedl (2000)
TOEFL Report MS-17

TOEFL® 2000 Framework: A Working Paper
J. Jamieson, S. Jones, I. Kirsch, P. Mosenthal, & C. Taylor (2000)
TOEFL Report MS-16

Computer and Communications Technologies in Colleges and Universities in the Year 2000
E.G. Hansen, & C.K. Willut (1997)
TOEFL Report MS-12

Communicative Language Proficiency: Definition and Implications for TOEFL® 2000
C. Chapelle, W. Grabe, & M. Berns (1997)
TOEFL Report MS-10

Theoretical Underpinnings of the Test of Spoken English™ Revision Project
D. Douglas, & J. Smith (1997)
TOEFL Report MS-09

Testing Speaking Ability in Academic Contexts: Theoretical Considerations
D. Douglas (1997)
TOEFL Report MS-08

A Review of Research Into Needs in English for Academic Purposes of Relevance to the North American Higher Education Context
A. Waters (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-06

TOEFL® 2000 — Writing: Composition, Community, and Assessment
L. Hamp-Lyons, & B. Kroll (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-05

Assessing Second Language Academic Reading from a Communicative Competence Perspective: Relevance for TOEFL® 2000
T. Hudson (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-04

A Review of the Academic Needs of Native English-Speaking College Students in the United States
A. Ginther, & L. Grant (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-01

Developing Assessment Tasks and Scoring Criteria

Strategies in Responding to New TOEFL® Reading Tasks
A. D. Cohen, & T.A. Upton (2006)
TOEFL Report MS-33

Notetaking Strategies and Their Relationship to Performance on Listening Comprehension and Communicative Assessment Tasks
P. L. Carrell (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-35

Analysis of Discourse Features and Verification of Scoring Levels for Independent and Integrated Prototype Written Tasks for the New TOEFL®
A. Cumming, R. Kantor, K. Baba, K. Eouanzoui, U. Erdosy, & M. James (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-30

An Examination of Rater Orientations and Test-Taker Performance on English-for-Academic-Purposes Speaking Tasks
A. Brown, N. Iwashita, & T. McNamara (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-29

A Teacher-Verification Study of Speaking and Writing Prototype Tasks for a New TOEFL®
A. Cumming, L. Grant, P. Mulcahy-Ernt, & D.E. Powers (2004)
TOEFL Report MS-26

The Effects of Notetaking, Lecture Length and Topic on the Listening Component of TOEFL® 2000
P.L. Carrell, P.A. Dunkel, & P. Mollaun (2002)
TOEFL Report MS-23

Scoring TOEFL® Essays and TOEFL 2000 Prototype Writing Tasks: An Investigation Into Raters' Decision Making and Development of a Preliminary Analytic Framework
A. Cumming, R. Kantor, & D.E. Powers (2001)
TOEFL Report MS-22

A Review of Computer-Based Speech Technology for TOEFL® 2000
J.C. Burstein, R.M. Kaplan, S. Rohen-Wolff, D.I. Zuckerman, & C. Lu (1999)
TOEFL Report MS-13

Technologies for Language Testing
L.T. Frase, B. Gong, E.G. Hansen, R. Kaplan, I.R. Katz, & K. Singley (1997)
TOEFL Report MS-11

The Revised Test of Spoken English™: Discourse Analysis of Native Speaker and Nonnative Speaker Data
A. Lazaraton, & S. Wagner (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-07

Applying Advanced Measurement Principles

Factor Structure of the LanguEdge™ Test Across Language Groups
L. J. Stricker, D.A. Rock, & Y.-W. Lee (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-32

Dependability of New ESL Writing Test Scores: Evaluating Prototype Tasks and Alternative Rating Schemes
Y.-W. Lee, & R. Kantor (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-31

Dependability of Scores for a New ESL Speaking Test: Evaluating Prototype Tasks
Y.-W. Lee (2004)
TOEFL Report MS-28

A Review of Psychometric and Consequential Issues Related to Performance Assessment
P.A. Carey (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-03

Polytomous Item Response Theory Models and Their Applications in Large-Scale Testing Programs: Review of Literature
K.L. Tang (1996)
TOEFL Report MS-02

Investigating Score Interpretation and Test Impact

The Impact of Changes in the TOEFL® Examination on Teaching and Learning in Central and Eastern Europe: Phase 1, The Baseline Study
D. Wall, & T. Horák (2006)
TOEFL Report MS-34

Effects of Language of Administration on a Self-Assessment of Language Skills
C. Roever & D.E. Powers (2005)
TOEFL Report MS-27

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Trends in Intensive English Program Enrollments
W.W. Powell (2001)
TOEFL Report MS-14

Washback in Language Testing
K.M. Bailey (1999)
TOEFL Report MS-15