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Scoring and Interpretation

The TOEFL® research program conducts research to identify important information that score users need in order to appropriately and accurately interpret test results and make decisions based on test scores. Research efforts are made to develop statements and descriptors about what test takers with test scores within a given score range can typically do and how they can improve their English-language knowledge and skills.

Interpreting the relationships between TOEFL iBT® scores and GPA: Language proficiency, policy, and profiles

Analyses of test scores of around 2,000 Chinese students at a U.S. university suggest that institutions should consider both TOEFL iBT® section and overall scores when using the test to make admissions decisions. The analyses revealed that many students obtained different section score profiles, such as very high reading and listening scores with very low speaking or writing scores. Setting minimum section scores for admissions purposes is recommended.

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Using the common European Framework of Reference to facilitate score interpretations for young learners' English language proficiency assessments

Researchers provide a brief history of the development of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and the corresponding proficiency level descriptors about students' language knowledge and skills. They then describe the technique used to align the TOEFL Junior® and TOEFL Primary® test scores to the CEFR levels and the corresponding level descriptors. The study also provides the correspondence between each test and the CEFR levels.

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An investigation of the use of TOEFL Junior Standard scores for ESL placement decisions in secondary education

Analyses of test data and teachers' judgments suggest that TOEFL Junior test scores are related to English teachers' evaluations of the appropriate levels of ESL classes in which students should be placed. The ESL levels suggested by test scores and those assigned by teachers were largely the same. The findings suggest that the TOEFL Junior test can be used as an efficient and effective tool for placement purposes.

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Developing and validating band levels and descriptors for reporting overall examinee performance

Researchers explain the process for developing proficiency level descriptors about what test takers at six TOEFL Junior Comprehensive score levels can do. The descriptors reflect the content of the test questions and the general proficiency descriptors from the CEFR. These descriptors are intended to help score users interpret numeric test scores and make informed decisions based on them.

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Facilitating the interpretation of English language proficiency scores: Combining scale anchoring and test score mapping methodologies

Based on test-taker performance on the TOEFL ITP® Level 1 test, researchers developed proficiency level descriptors that describe what test takers with scores at four different score levels can do on each of the three sections of the test: listening comprehension; structure and written expression; and reading comprehension. The level descriptors are also aligned with descriptors of the CEFR levels.

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