skip to main content skip to footer

TOEFL Academic Speaking Test: Setting a Cut Score for International Teaching Assistants TOEFL TAST iBT TSE

Wylie, E. Caroline; Tannenbaum, Richard J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), TOEFL Academic Speaking Test (TAST), Internet Based Testing (iBT), Test of Spoken English (TSE), Speaking Assessment, Teaching Assistants


The purpose of this study was to establish cut scores for international teaching assistants (ITAs) on the new TOEFL Academic Speaking Test (TAST), which is the stand-alone equivalent of the speaking section of the TOEFL Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Two separate cut scores were established: first, a cut score for minimally acceptable speaking skills in order to have the lowest level of ITA contact with undergraduate students; and second, a cut score to establish a TAST score that corresponds to the Test of Spoken English (TSE) score of 50. A panel consisting of 18 experts was convened to participate in the standard-setting study. In conducting this study, the panel employed the benchmark method (Faggen, 1994), which is similar to the examinee paper selection method (Hambleton, Jaeger, Plake, & Mills, 2000). As a result of two rounds of judgments with discussion in between, the cut score for the TAST was set as 23 out of 30 scaled score points, and the TSE-50 equivalent score was established as 26 out of 30 scaled score points.

Read More