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

The announcement comes after the National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) conducted a two-year research project in collaboration with ETS, the organization administering the exam, which resulted in the mapping.

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Yu Han, Deputy Director of NEEA, believes that 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:

[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, has said that NEEA was a “valued partner”, adding China had become a key market and a highly strategic country for his organization.

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. 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.

The alignment will encourage a shift from score orientated teaching to competence orientated teaching, Mr. Gopal suggested. He believes that aligning the test to the English proficiency standard in China will help shift the emphasis from “just getting a score” to learning English properly, as well as learning English orientated skills.

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The mapping was welcomed by educational professionals in China, including Wang Guangfa, Principal of Beijing Royal School and President of Fazheng Group. He commented:

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

Source: The PIE News