Frequently Asked Questions About the TOEFL® Primary™ Tests
- What are the TOEFL Primary tests?
The TOEFL® Primary™ tests are new assessments from ETS that help you shape young students' English-language instruction in a way you never had before. They are designed for students ages 8+ and measure the English skills that provide a foundation for students' future success.
- How are TOEFL Primary scores used?
The TOEFL Primary tests are designed to:
- Guide your teaching goals
- Monitor student progress
- Identify students' individual strengths and weaknesses
- Determine instructional plans
- Inform placement decisions, if appropriate
- Focus your work with both individual students and groups
- Shape your communication with parents about student learning
- Who uses the TOEFL Primary tests?
The TOEFL Primary tests can be used to monitor student progress over time and, if appropriate, to place students in levels of English instruction. They are designed for:
- English-language programs
- Local schools that teach English as part of the curriculum
- What is the format of the tests?
- Reading and Listening test — Step 1: paper delivered
- Reading and Listening test — Step 2: paper delivered
- Speaking test: computer delivered
- What skills do the TOEFL Primary tests measure?
The TOEFL Primary program offers three tests that measure a range of skills. The Reading and Listening tests (Step 1 and Step 2) assess students' knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfill core communication goals in English. The Speaking test measures English-language speaking proficiency.
Learn more about test content.
- How are the TOEFL Primary tests administered?
The TOEFL Primary Reading and Listening tests — Step 1 and Step 2 offer institutional testing so that schools can administer the tests to their own students. The TOEFL Primary Speaking test is given during fixed administration periods. Contact your local ETS Preferred Network office or the TOEFL Primary program to learn more.
- How are the TOEFL Primary tests scored?
Both of the TOEFL Primary Reading and Listening tests are scored locally by ETS Preferred Network offices and feature fast turnaround times. The TOEFL Primary Speaking test is scored at ETS by ETS-trained raters.
TOEFL Primary Reading and Listening test — Step 1 scores are determined by the number of questions a student has answered correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers. The number of correct responses in each section is converted to a level of 1–4 Stars and a scale score of 101–109.
TOEFL Primary Reading and Listening test — Step 2 scores are determined by the number of questions a student has answered correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers. The number of correct responses in each section is converted to a level of 1–5 Badges and a scale score of 104–115. Some students may receive 1 badge and a scale score of 100, and these students are recommended to take Step 1 for better information about their proficiencies in English reading and listening.
The TOEFL Primary Speaking test is scored by ETS-trained raters. On the TOEFL Primary Speaking test, students can earn levels of 1–5 Ribbons. Scores of 0–27 are also reported to show progress within a level.
- How do I order the TOEFL Primary tests?
Currently, the TOEFL Primary tests are available in Brazil, Korea and Vietnam and are being introduced in various locations around the world. The first test administrations began in late 2013. Be sure to check back often to see if the test is available in your country. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please email ETS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do I know which TOEFL Primary test is right for my students?
The Reading and Listening test — Step 1 is intended for students in the earlier stages of English.
The Reading and Listening test — Step 2 is intended for students who have acquired some communicative English skills.
The Speaking Test is intended for all Reading and Listening test takers.
For help deciding which test is right for your students, learn more about the test content.
- What research is in progress on the TOEFL Primary tests?
The TOEFL Primary test design and research framework paper discusses theoretical and empirical bases for test constructs, test design features, score reporting and future research agenda. It is currently in technical review with experts in the field of language testing and will be published once it is available.
Learn more about ongoing TOEFL Primary research.