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Press release | Product Launches & Updates

Research Results on Linking the TOEFL Junior® Test to China’s Standards of English Released

May 10, 2022

Following the release of the research results linking TOEFL iBT® scores with China’s Standards of English (CSE) in December 2019, ETS and the National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) of the Ministry of Education (MOE) recently released the results linking TOEFL Junior® scores with the CSE. The study, “Aligning Language Test Scores to Local Proficiency Levels: The Case of China’s Standards of English Language Ability (CSE),” was published in the Chinese/English Journal of Educational Measurement and Evaluation (Vol. 3: Issue 1, Article 1, 2022). By clarifying the meaning of the TOEFL Junior scores and their corresponding English-proficiency levels under the CSE, this benchmarking will enable young test takers, as well as their teachers and parents, to better evaluate their English ability, promote more targeted English learning and improve English language skills.

CSE, the first evaluation standard for Chinese English learners, was officially released by the MOE and State Language Commission in February 2018. Oriented around English usage, the CSE includes a multilevel index system that provides a comprehensive, clear and detailed description of English-language ability at each level. It supports the coordinated development of English teaching, learning, testing.

Following the reform of foreign language education and the construction of a foreign language proficiency assessment system in China, ETS and NEEA jointly conducted a study on the alignment of standards between TOEFL iBT test scores and the CSE in 2017, and officially released the results in 2019. This study has not only enhanced the international influence of Chinese language proficiency standards, but has also helped Chinese students, schools and test takers better understand the requirements of international assessments and the meaning of their scores, thus improving English teaching and students’ English proficiency.

Previous studies on the alignment of international language tests to CSE have mainly focused on higher education enrollment or learner ability evaluation targeting adult language learners. Given that adolescents are currently the largest group of English-language learners in the education system, it is also critical to understand the corresponding relationship between the CSE and assessments designed for young learners.

As a member of the TOEFL® Family of Assessments, the TOEFL Junior test is designed for students ages 11–17 and was developed based on the opinions and suggestions of English educators around the world. The test aims to measure students’ proficiency in academic and social English, which can reflect their ability to apply English in English-medium instruction environments, guide class placement based on a student’s level of study and monitor learning progress. In addition, it also provides teachers and parents with valuable references on how to improve students’ English proficiency, helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses to achieve targeted learning.

The alignment results show that the TOEFL Junior test scores correspond to Levels 3, 4 and 5 of the CSE. The relationships between reading, listening, language form and meaning (LFM), and speaking scores and the CSE levels are shown in the table below:

The results of this study will help teachers, parents and test takers better understand the English-language ability of young test takers, make rational test choices and guide English-language learning through the measurement of language performance. It can also support comparative studies on young learners’ language proficiency across countries and regions.

TOEFL Junior is administered in many countries worldwide with both paper and computer-delivered test options. The TOEFL Junior paper-delivered test is offered at test centers in more than 40 cities in China, and the computer-delivered test is available in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other cities. To meet the demand of test takers’ needs during the pandemic, an at home version was also recently introduced. Test takers can visit the official TOEFL Junior test website to register and choose a testing method according to their needs.

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