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Design Framework for the TOEFL Essentials Test 2021 AI CEFR ESL/EFL IRT MST ONE L2 TAIC TOEFL

Papageorgiou, Spiros; Davis, Larry; Norris, John M.; Garcia Gomez, Pablo; Manna, Venessa F.; Monfils, Lora
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
English Language Proficiency, Language Assessment, Test Design, Test Validation, Scoring, Online Assessment, Proctor, Human Raters, Test Security, TOEFL Essentials, Language Skills, Communication Skills, Conversation Analysis, Daily Living Skills, Work Skills, Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking, Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), Technology Assisted Item Creation (TAIC), Online Network for Evaluation (ONE), Multistage Testing (MST), Item Response Theory (IRT), English as a Second Language (ESL), Artificial Intelligence, Second Language (L2)


The TOEFL Essentials test is a new English language proficiency test in the TOEFL family of assessments. It measures foundational language skills and communication abilities in academic and general (daily life) contexts. The test covers the four language skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking and is intended to provide academic programs and other users with reliable information regarding the test taker’s ability to understand and use English. This report presents the theoretical and empirical basis underlying the development of the TOEFL Essentials test. The purpose and intended uses of the test, its target test-taker population, and relevant language use domains are described first. The test design and scoring procedures are presented next, followed by a research agenda intended to support the interpretation and use of test scores. This report is intended to serve as an overview and rationale for the test design as well as a reference point for informing investigations of validity evidence to support the intended test uses over time.

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