TOEFL Trouble Hits American Students

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Sep 19 12:18:13 UTC 2006

>>From the Chronicle of Higher Education,

Toefl Trouble Hits American Students,

Just as With European Peers European students and educators have been
complaining since last year that the Educational Testing Services rollout
of a new online version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language has
been a mess, particularly since ETS planned to simultaneously stop
offering a paper version. Now the same problems that the Europeans have
experienced since last year are hitting American students whose native
language is not English and who want to use the test to demonstrate their
English proficiency on college applications, according to todays
Washington Post.

The examination, which is a gateway to study at American colleges for
thousands of foreigners, has been criticized by Europeans for technical
glitches and limited chances to take the test that, they say, have robbed
many would-be students of the opportunity to study in the United States
(The Chronicle, December 16, 2005). The Europeans urged ETS to delay
introducing the online-only test to other countries until the problems had
been ironed out (The Chronicle, January 25). ETS has responded that it
takes the complaints seriously and is fixing the problems.

But the identical problems are now cropping up in the United States, as
ETS phases in the online-only test: technical snafus, limited test sites,
and suddenly canceled tests that leave college applicants dangling. An ETS
spokesman told the Post that problems have been rare so far.


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