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TOEFL iBT aligns with China test framework

China’s Ministry of Education and US-based ETS have announced the alignment of the TOEFL iBT test to China’s Standards of English framework.

The TOEFL iBT test's alignment with China’s Standards of English framework was announced in Beijing this December. Photo: Pixabay

"It's useful to all stakeholders, whether that's Chinese students, teachers and policy makers"

The announcement comes after the National Education Examinations Authority conducted a two-year research project in collaboration with ETS which resulted in the mapping.  

“It is critical that TOEFL iBT test scores are communicated in a way that is as transparent and as meaningful as possible within the Chinese education context”

“The successful completion of the research project to map TOEFL iBT test scores onto the CSE levels increases the international influence of China’s language ability standard,” said deputy director of NEEA Yu Han.

“[It] promotes the integration of the Chinese educational technical standard into the global standard, and spurs English education and the opening and development of foreign language education in China.”

Srikant Gopal, executive director of the TOEFL Program, told The PIE News NEEA was a “valued partner”, adding China had become a key market and a highly strategic country for his organisation.

“China has made a major effort to create its own standards – the CSE. It made sense for us to make sure we were aligned to the framework,” he said.

“It’s useful to all stakeholders, whether that’s Chinese students, teachers and policy makers.”

China is the largest single market for TOEFL, he added.

“The study will further help institutions around the world that admit students from China using TOEFL scores. It will help them to understand better what Chinese learners of English can do with the language,” Gopla continued.

The alignment will encourage a shift from score orientated teaching to competence orientated teaching, he suggested.

“Aligning our test to an English proficiency standard in China really helps to shift that emphasis from just getting a score, to really learning English and learning English orientated skills.”

The mapping was welcomed by educational professionals in China, including Wang Guangfa, principal of Beijing Royal School and president of Fazheng Group.

“The language assessment system created by the ETS, especially the TOEFL test, plays an integral role in our teaching practice featuring English,” Guangfa said.

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