TOEFL iBT® Test Participates in Japan’s University Entrance Examinations

Contact: Miho Tsunoda, Pascal Wenz                              Phone: 03-6457-9702                                Email:

TOKYO, Japan (March 26, 2018) – The TOEFL iBT® test has been confirmed by Japan’s National Center for University Entrance Examinations (NCUEE) as fulfilling all requirements for participation in the English Score Information System for University Entrance Examinations. The TOEFL iBT test, created by Educational Testing Service (ETS), is a highly respected and widely available global English-language assessment.

The confirmation that the TOEFL iBT® test fulfills the requirements for participation in the score system affirms that the test is expected to contribute to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology’s (MEXT) broader education reforms that aim at improving continuity between secondary and higher education, which were laid out in a 2014 report entitled “Unified reforms in high-school and university education as well as university entrance examinations aimed at the realization of continuity in secondary and higher education as appropriate to the new age” by the Central Council for Education.

“ETS applauds the decision to use the TOEFL iBT test as an effective measure for assessing students’ English proficiency for university admissions,” said Jennifer Brown, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program at ETS. “We are confident that the English-language skills that the TOEFL iBT test evaluates are among the core competencies required for the development of an international information society.”

Since 2016 MEXT has been working on reforms of high school and university education as well as university entrance examinations. The use of external English-language exams for university entrance examinations marks a shift in evaluation from the focus on two of the four language skills, measuring students’ abilities in reading and listening, to an emphasis on the four skills that also include speaking and writing. A focus on these broader English-language skills will greatly contribute to developing the global talent necessary for the new age.

The TOEFL iBT test bridges the current gap in evaluating proficiency in these four language skills, gauging students’ abilities to communicate in English as well as understand it. In addition to tasks that focus specifically on each of the four skills, the TOEFL iBT test consists of integrated test questions that require test takers to combine language skills, which more accurately reflect authentic language use.

“Relying on external tests, such as the TOEFL iBT test, which have established assessment methods, is a good choice,” said Nobuo Tsuda, Dean of the Institute for Language and Culture at Konan University, and an ETS Authorized Propell® Facilitator for the TOEFL iBT test. “Developing and carrying out a four-skill assessment for university entrance exams is a complex task that is researched and refined over many years. The TOEFL iBT test evaluates the four skills of English usage comprehensively with highly reliable scoring standards.”

“APU has chosen the TOEFL iBT test for admissions because it is the global standard for measuring English-language ability,” said Yuichi Kondo, Dean of Admissions at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). “The test’s strong theoretical framework has developed over time and ensures the reliability of the test. For many students in Japan, the TOEFL iBT test is the first encounter with a global standard of English — it is an important experience that makes them realize that they are competing with students from around the world and motivates them to work towards success at a global level.”

Until now, MEXT has carried out multiple measures in primary, secondary and higher education in order to develop the competitive, English-proficient workforce that is crucial for Japan’s continued success in a globalized world. Many of the universities designated as Super Global Universities or Global 30 have selected the TOEFL test, as preparation for this test that can help students improve their active English-language skills. These skills are increasingly crucial for reaching the highest levels of industry and government and remaining competitive among other developed nations in Asia.

“Developing the active skills evaluated by the TOEFL iBT test will help students learn what is required to be active on a global stage,” said Rina Matsuura, PR Assistant at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, who took the TOEFL iBT test in preparation for her applications for graduate school in the United States. “Preparation for the TOEFL iBT test proved extremely helpful in my career because of the test’s emphasis on practical skills.”

Japan has relied on the TOEFL test to accurately assess English proficiency since 1964 and it continues to rely on the test’s most recent iteration, the TOEFL iBT test, because of its accuracy, fairness and security. ETS, the nonprofit organization responsible for the test, conducts an extensive, rigorous research program to demonstrate the quality of the test. To ensure results are globally consistent, TOEFL iBT scoring for the speaking and writing sections is conducted centrally by multiple raters who do not know the test takers. To ensure testing is secure, ETS invests heavily in the security infrastructure of all of its tests, allocating more than US $60 million annually.

ETS continues to invest in Japan as well, enabling greater accessibility to its tests in the country. In cooperation with its partner Prometric, ETS offers the TOEFL iBT test at more than 130 test centers in Japan and is committed to building test capacity as demand warrants in order to ensure its tests are accessible to students throughout Japan.

About the TOEFL® Test

The TOEFL test of academic English is the most widely respected English-language assessment worldwide, recognized by more than 10,000 institutions in more than 130 countries. To date, more than 35 million students have taken the TOEFL test. More information regarding the TOEFL test, including registration, study tips and sample questions, is available on the TOEFL website at

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 10,000 locations worldwide.

Tagged: Global English