SOURCE: EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE

January 27, 2006 08:00 ET

ETS Announces New Rollout Plan for TOEFL iBT to Better Serve Students

PRINCETON, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 27, 2006 -- ETS's new TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) has now launched in the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and Puerto Rico, ushering in a new era of improved English-language assessment. The technological delivery and scoring of the test have gone smoothly. However, issues related to establishing new test centers in some locations have resulted in ETS adapting the rollout schedule to better serve students' needs.

Since early September ETS has completed 14 TOEFL iBT test administrations in the countries where the test has launched. Over 33,000 students have taken the test and approximately 48,000 students have registered to take the test. Overall, the company is on track for signing up the centers needed to operate on a worldwide basis. Still, ETS confirmed that demand for testing has exceeded the supply in a limited number of locations where TOEFL iBT is being offered.

To ensure all applicants can access the TOEFL test during the transition to the new testing method, and in response to concerns from international academic advising organizations, ETS will introduce the new test in selected cities, while maintaining the current computer-based or paper-based versions of the test in other locations. A list of cities where TOEFL iBT is offered will be available Feb. 3 on the TOEFL Web site at www.ets.org/toefl and updated weekly.

"Although recruitment for test centers has gone well, the amount of time needed to get the new centers ready for testing has taken longer than initially anticipated," explains Paul Ramsey, Senior Vice President of ETS's Global Division. "This resulted in shortfalls in a few areas, and some students were not able to test in their desired time frame for admission decisions. We understand the seriousness of this, and have worked to both streamline the process to ready new test centers and increase the number of ETS and Thompson Prometric staff dedicated to preparing new centers." He says ETS has also taken the following steps to provide additional access to test takers:

--  offering additional TOEFL iBT test dates
--  adding new test sites regularly
--  using nontraditional testing sites (for example, CompUSA) as needed
--  offering TOEFL paper-based administrations in nine cities
    
"The pivotal role ETS plays in international student admissions is not something we take lightly," Ramsey adds. "It is precisely because we take this role so seriously that we try to improve the tests we make so that the admitting institutions can have the best information possible in their decision-making process."

"That is also the reason why the move to iBT is so important. It will ultimately lead to greater access to test centers than ever before for international test takers everywhere. Until the rollout is completed and we overcome whatever access issues arise, rest assured that ETS will do everything in its power to contribute positively to international student exchange."

Next Stages of the TOEFL iBT Introduction

March 2006

On March 25, test centers in selected cities in the following regions will offer TOEFL iBT for the first time: Africa, the Americas, Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Registration opens on Feb. 8. In all other cities the current method of TOEFL testing will continue. The list of cities and specific details will be available at www.ets.org/toefl by Feb. 3.

April 2006

In April, test centers in selected cities in Asia and the Pacific Region will begin to offer TOEFL iBT.

May 2006

In May, TOEFL iBT will be introduced in selected cities in Japan and Korea.

August 2006

In August, TOEFL iBT will begin in China.

About the Internet-based TOEFL Test

The TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The test helps students demonstrate that they have the English-language skills needed for success. TOEFL iBT emphasizes integrated skills and provides better information to institutions about students' ability to communicate in an academic setting and their readiness for academic coursework. With Internet-based testing, ETS can capture speech and score responses in a standardized manner.

ABOUT ETS

ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals, educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional development products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops, administers and scores more than 24 million tests annually in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. Additional information is available at www.ets.org.

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