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Fairness and Accessibility

Are TOEFL iBT® test tasks free of flaws that may benefit or disadvantage some test takers for reasons that are related to their personal characteristics, such as their race or gender, rather than their skill in the area being tested? Does the test allow all test takers an equal opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in English?

These are some questions that researchers aim to answer when they study the fairness and accessibility of the TOEFL® test.

Featured Publications

These are some significant publications related to the fairness and accessibility of TOEFL test tasks:

Candidate Characteristics

Is There Any Interaction Between Background Knowledge and Language Proficiency That Affects TOEFL iBT® Reading Performance?
Y. Z. Hill & O. L. Liu (2012)
TOEFL iBT Report No. iBT-18

Does Content Knowledge Affect TOEFL iBT™ Reading Performance? A Confirmatory Approach to Differential Item Functioning
L. Liu, M. Schedl, J. Malloy, & N. Kong (2009)
TOEFL iBT Report No. iBT-09

Factor Structure of the TOEFL® Internet-Based Test Across Subgroups
L. J. Stricker & D. A. Rock (2008)
TOEFL iBT Report No. iBT-07

Factor Structure of the LanguEdge™ Test Across Language Groups
L. J. Stricker, D. A. Rock, & Y.-W. Lee (2005)
TOEFL Monograph No. MS-32

An Analysis of TOEFL® CBT Writing Prompt Difficulty and Comparability for Different Gender Groups
H. Breland, Y.-W. Lee, M. Najarian, & E. Muraki (2004)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-76

Comparability of TOEFL® CBT Writing Prompts for Different Native Language Groups
Y.-W. Lee, H. Breland, & E. Muraki (2004)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-77


An Investigation of the Impact of Composition Medium on the Quality of Scores From the TOEFL® Writing Section: A Report From the Broad-Based Study
E. W. Wolfe & J. R. Manalo (2005)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-72

Comparability of TOEFL® CBT Writing Prompts: Response Mode Analyses
H. Breland, Y.-W. Lee, & E. Muraki (2004)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-75

Toward Accessible Computer-based Tests: Prototypes for Visual and Other Disabilities
E. G. Hansen, D. C. Forer, & M. J. Lee (2004)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-78

The Relationship Between Computer Familiarity and Performance on Computer-Based TOEFL® Test Tasks
C. Taylor, J. Jamieson, D. Eignor, & I. Kirsch (1998)
TOEFL Research Rep. No. RR-61