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ETS announces instant access TOEFL iBT scores

Global test provider ETS has launched instant scores for TOEFL iBT reading and listening exam sections to give test takers early performance indicators, which will help with identifying whether a student will need to resit exams.

ETS wants to give students "the opportunity to make decisions about retesting sooner". Photo: pxhere

ETS has also reduced the time needed to register online for tests from four to two days

As of February 15, students have been able to see “unofficial” scores for the reading and listening sections immediately upon conclusion of the test, becoming the only English-language assessment that provides students scores instantly.

“ETS wants to ensure the testing experience is as convenient and flexible as possible”

“Our commitment to students and institutions drives the changes and enhancements we’ve implemented over the last several months,” said Srikant Gopal, executive director of the TOEFL Program.

“ETS wants to ensure the testing experience is as convenient and flexible as possible for students while maintaining the rigorous standards of a fair and unbiased assessment that institutions rely on as a valid measure of academic English-language proficiency,” Gopal continued.

The instant scores mean students can make decisions about reporting scores or retaking the test, he explained.

“If students are unsatisfied with their performance on these two sections, they can choose to cancel their scores at the end of the test, which prevents these scores from appearing on their official score report as well as from going to the institutions that they selected to receive their scores.”

ETS is seeking to give students “the opportunity to make decisions about retesting sooner”, Gopal said, which is helpful for those up against deadlines during application season.

In September 2019, ETS reduced the retest waiting period for the TOEFL iBT from 12 to three days.

“Having the opportunity to view these scores immediately also provides students with instant validation of their performance, especially after working hard to prepare for the test and working diligently to complete it,” Gopal added.

Although the “unofficial” scores provide early performance indicators, full scores will still be available approximately six days following the test.

“We anticipate that in almost all cases, the unofficial reading and listening scores that students will see upon completing the TOEFL iBT test will be the same scores that students will see on their official score reports,” Gopal explained.

“However… we do additional quality checks before they can be considered official scores.”

The speaking section of the test remains unchanged, and will continue to be scored centrally by anonymous human raters as well as AI technology “to ensure fairness and reliability”, Gopal added.

Additionally, ETS has reduced the time needed to register online for tests from four to two days in a bid to make online registration more convenient.

“We understand that students worldwide will face deadlines and unexpected circumstances that may require them to make decisions later in the process,” Gopal said.

“We’re confident this updated policy will provide ample opportunity for students to register at a time that is most conducive to their schedules.”

In 2019, ETS launched a mobile app for test-takers on the go, as well as its MyBest Scores. It also shortened the time of the TOEFL iBT test by 30 minutes to a total of three hours.

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