Test of English as a Foreign Language

The Test of English as a Foreign Language ( TOEFL) is a standardized test in which the knowledge of English is checked by non- native speakers. The test is recognized by many universities in the English-speaking world, especially in the U.S. as admission requirement. In its current form ( iBT ) he is in the sections

Divided. Grammar is taken into account in all four test forms. The answers to the first two parts of the test are given in multiple-choice system. The validity is limited to two years, as according to scientific studies, inter alia, the Educational Testing Service (ETS ), the test developer of TOEFL and TOEIC, further use of the English language after the completed test is crucial for language skills in the future. Speaks the tested candidate after the test never again English or only in exceptional cases, as would its powers be impaired. For this reason, the ETS can not scientifically proven language level over a longer period than two years guarantee and recommends the latest after two years a new language level measurement to detect the current language object or to detect the current language skills.

The TOEFL is conducted worldwide by the Educational Testing Service (ETS ). It has existed since 1964 and has since completed more than 22 million people.

  • 3.1 Cost increases
  • 3.2 profits, high salaries and bonuses despite profit
  • 3.3 Dominance
  • 3.4 Questioning the test at German universities

Internet-based Test ( iBT )

The end of 2005 as the TOEFL Internet-based Test ( iBT ) has been introduced in the U.S., Germany, France and Italy. This new test format solved in these countries from all previous TOEFL test forms. However, customized tests are offered for candidates with disabilities. The other countries followed in 2006 /2007. The Internet TOEFL now additionally recorded the oral language skills of the participant. The maximum score is 120 points, with a maximum of 30 per skill points are awarded.

The entire test takes with check-in, instructions, loading times, fully exploiting not timed instruction pages and 10 - minute break more than four and a half hours. The cost of the test vary in different countries, in Germany and Austria, it costs 240 U.S. dollars in Switzerland U.S. $ 250 (as of January 2013). You can apply online or by phone in the U.S. or in the Netherlands. The tests themselves are then performed at local test centers ( in Germany currently has about 5 major and 15 minor ). There are per country every month 3-5 exam dates ( although not necessarily at all test centers). The evaluation is performed according to ETS within 15 working days.

Old test forms

The old test is taken in two variants that have different point scales, but are recognized as equivalent: PBT ( paper-based test, 310 to 677 points ) and CBT (computer- based test, 0 to 300 points). From universities typically at least 550 to 600 points (PBT - scale) for admission to postgraduate courses (master ) may be required. Together with the TOEFL and the Test of Written English is carried out, but valued separately. ETS provides a comparison chart (PDF, 1.0 MB).

Computer - Based Test

(a total of 96 to 137 questions in 3 hours, 05 minutes to 3 hours, 50 minutes)

Criticism of cost and business model

Cost increases

Since 2006, the price of the TOEFL in Germany has risen by 55 % from 155 to 240 U.S. dollars. The Educational Testing Service indicates that the cost of development, production, administration and grading would have to be paid and no profit is made. The price increase is attributed to increased " administrative expenditure". This seems questionable, as the author January Willmroth for the period 2000-2011 annual growth rates for Germany alone by an average of 8 % were referred to more tests and therefore decreasing marginal costs would be expected per test. In the test centers in Germany only an allowance of 30 to 40 euros from 190 euros test fee matters. Exact figures on the development of business activities in Germany are not known due to the secrecy of the company.

Profits, high salaries and bonuses despite profit

In the U.S., ETS since 2002 is already under fire because the organization recognized both as a charitable organization and is exempt from tax, but on the other hand, high salaries and bonuses have been known since Kurt Landgraf 2001 became CEO. The bonus payments for executives were in his first year in the same order as their annual salaries, while usually only five to ten percent are common in the academic and foundation area. One-off payments of up to 366,000 U.S. dollars were paid to 15 employees, Landgraf even got his first ten months of $ 800,000. Overall, about two million dollars bonuses came in fiscal 2001, so in addition to the salary, together with a profit of 34 million U.S. dollars. The profits amounted to approximately 27 million U.S. dollars, the salary Landgraf to around 1.2 million U.S. dollars and salaries in the leadership team to over $ 200,000 in 2010.

Dominant market position

Robert Schaefer, who is responsible for public education director of the U.S. interest group FairTest, criticized not only the use of the profits of the non-profit organization for bonus payment rather than a reduction in the test fees, but also the monopoly of ETS: " This money comes from the pockets the test takers, their parents and taxpayers from states that have a contract with ETS, by people who have no other choice than to pay for these tests. " ETS leads in the U.S. admission tests for college through (SAT, GRE, GMAT ) and has been with GRE and GMA for certain disciplines virtual monopoly. Also German applicants must often rely on the evidence of their English language skills for the TOEFL, as many universities only recognize these or similar expensive IELTS test. Claims to the company with 50 million tests every year and 5,300 employees is the largest of the global test industry. Sales of ETS in 2010 was approximately one billion U.S. dollars.

Questioning of the tests at German universities

The University of Hamburg has abolished the TOEFL as a requirement for admission to the Bachelor of English Studies in May 2012. Dean Prof. Susanne Rupp justifies this with the high administration costs, the problematic use of external service providers and the socially disadvantaged Weaker by the high test fees. The experience with the abolition were " very positive " and these have not had a significant impact on the quality of applicants. Also in the master's degree program in Agricultural and Food Economics at the University of Bonn, the abolition of the TOEFL admission requirement has no negative impact on the German Bachelor graduates.