The Test Of English as a Foreign Language
, pronounced "toe-full", or sometimes just "toffle") tests the ability of an individual to use and understand English
(possibly biased towards American English
) at a college level. It is required for non-native applicants at many American
and English speaking colleges and universities. The TOEFL is the product of the Educational Testing Service
(ETS), contracted by the private, non-profit firm, the College Board; they also produce the SAT
The test is usually taken on a computer in a test center, although paper versions are available where it is not possible to take it this way. TOEFL is administered worldwide.
The test consists of three sections:
- Section I: Listening Comprehension
- Section II: Structure and Written Expression
- Section III: Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary
The test was first administered 1964
and has since been taken by nearly 20 million students. A revamped version of the test is due for release in 2005
. This has been dubbed the Next Generation TOEFL
and will include diagnostic reports on a student's diagnostic strengths and weaknesses. Currently, the TOEFL does not include a test of speaking, although this will be introduced in 2005 when the TOEFL Academic Speaking Test
(TAST) is integrated into the main TOEFL. A stand-alone TAST is currently available only as a practice test, which is taken using a telephone
. The TAST assesses a student's ability to speak English clearly and fluently.
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) tests are similar, but oriented towards British English, and for positions within educational institutions based on the British educational system.