The Writing section of the TOEFL iBT test and the GRE Analytical Writing measure are intended to measure different sets of skills. The TOEFL iBT test primarily measures the ability of non-native speakers to communicate in academic English. The TOEFL Writing section contains two writing tasks:
- an integrated task that asks test takers to write responses that integrate and organize information from a reading passage and a lecture
- a writing for an academic discussion task where test takers will be asked to state and support an opinion on a given topic in an online class discussion
These writing tasks are not designed to measure higher levels of critical thinking and analytical writing, but center instead on candidates' composition skills and command of English vocabulary, grammar, spelling and syntax, with some analysis and synthesis of material. Therefore, scores on the two tests are not comparable.
Because the TOEFL test emphasizes fundamental writing and comprehension skills, the TOEFL score can supplement an Analytical Writing score by helping faculty determine whether a low score on the GRE Analytical Writing measure is due to lack of familiarity with English or lack of ability to produce and analyze logical arguments. See Using Scores.