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The Test of Spoken English as a Measure of Communicative Ability in the Health Professions: Validation and Standard Setting GREB TSE

Powers, Donald E.; Stansfield, Charles W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-83-01, TOEFL-RR-13
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Graduate Record Examinations Board, English (Second Language), Health Personnel, Speech Communication, Test Construction, Test Validity, Test of Spoken English (TSE)


The increasing interest in oral proficiency during the past decade prompted ETS to undertake the development of the TSE® (Test of Spoken English™), a standardized test of speaking proficiency of non-native speakers of English. The test has been validated for the selection of non-native teaching assistants applying to U.S. institutions. The objectives of the study reported here were to: (1) provide additional validation of the TSE for the selection and certification of non-native health professionals, (2) establish a set of procedures for determining standards of proficiency on the TSE, and (3) try out these procedures in selected health professions in which the test could be used. The results of the study support the validity of the TSE as a measure of oral language proficiency and provide some progress toward the setting of appropriate standards of oral language proficiency within the health-related professions.

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