Educational Testing Service

May 31, 2011 08:00 ET

International Panel Links TOEFL® Junior™ Scores to Common European Framework

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - May 31, 2011) - An international panel of distinguished English language experts has now matched scores from the TOEFL® Junior™ test, a global assessment of middle school-level English-language proficiency, to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The test was launched last fall in Korea and 25 other countries are administering it, or will be soon.

"The CEFR is widely accepted as the European standard for describing levels of [English] language proficiency," says Richard Tannenbaum, Director of Research in ETS's Research & Development (R&D) division. "By mapping TOEFL Junior scores to this standard, we not only make it easier for test takers and decision makers to understand what the scores mean, but we also boost the credibility of the TOEFLJunior test throughout Europe and other regions."

The TOEFLJunior Benchmark Study took place in November in Paris. Led by Tannenbaum and Patricia Baron, ETS Senior Research Project Manager, middle school English-language educators from Greece, Poland, Egypt, Italy, Denmark, Jordan, Colombia, Brazil and France recommended cut scores for the TOEFLJunior Listening Comprehension, Language Form and Meaning, and Reading Comprehension sections that correspond to the A2, B1 and B2 levels of the CEFR.

"The benchmark study is a transparent process," explains Baron. "The panel members' judgments are the single most important factor in identifying the test scores that correspond to each CEFR level. The panelists are trained in the standard-setting process, practice making judgments, and then engage in multiple rounds of judgments, with feedback and discussion between the rounds. Their input is valued first and foremost."

According to Tannenbaum, the study's validity lies in the fact that a rigorous and systematic standard-setting process was implemented and that the panelists had the appropriate expertise, experience and diversity of perspectives.

Efforts to match TOEFL Junior scores to standard measures started in 2010 and will continue through 2011. In December, TOEFL Junior scores also were matched to Lexile® measures, which allow test takers to use their scores to identify books at their reading level.

About ETS
Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually -- including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® families of tests, and the GRE® test -- in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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