How ETS Maintains Security for the TOEFL® Essentials™ Test


Video duration: 3:22

Security is of paramount importance to ETS. The rigorous processes and protocols we employ and maintain ensure that our assessments are fair, valid and reliable measures of one’s abilities. And they also prevent instances of cheating and maintain the integrity of these tests that are relied upon by students and institutions around the world. ETS invests tens of millions of dollars each year in security infrastructure and is the market leader in the development of cutting-edge security measures and processes. We’re often the first to apply the newest security technologies, such as voice identification and facial recognition, to our testing programs. And they were initially developed for third-party test centers, but we continue to use them with our at home offerings.

Regardless of whether someone takes the test from a third-party test center or from the comfort of home, each person is equally subject to the comprehensive security measures that we have in place to verify their identity and to maintain the integrity of the test. We have a variety of best-in-class security measures to maintain test security of the TOEFL Essentials test. These are consistent with those that we leverage for the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, which has been successfully demonstrated through hundreds of thousands of tests administered since April 2020 from over 180 countries. Some of the examples of these measures include 100% live human proctoring and videotaping of each test from start to finish. We also have a comprehensive security check including ID reviews. We have proctors who will scan and secure the testing environment prior to the start of the test. We also have AI-powered measures that will include facial recognition and gaze tracking, and of course, test or score cancellation if cheating attempts are identified by the proctors.

We have learned a significant amount over the last year, including validation of the rigorous processes we have in place as well as identifying and resolving the evolving ways that some test takers may try to gain an unfair advantage on the test. We continue to take the learnings associated with TOEFL iBT Home Edition, with more than a year of at home testing behind us — and not just from a security perspective, but from the end-to-end process of registration through score delivery — and we apply them to other offerings including the TOEFL Essentials test, which has the same rigorous security protocols as the TOEFL iBT Home Edition. We’ve never been more prepared to deliver these at home tests, and we’re confident in their ability to continue providing institutions around the world with trusted and reliable scores for high-stakes decisions.