The Evaluation of TOEFL test.
The test is used in college admissions for non-native English speaking students to an English- peaking country purposes. Although it provides scores of test takers so that college administrators can know their English proficiency directly, the test is not aim at ranking. The test divides criteria into four parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing. According to process, reading comprehension is the first part should be measured. This part tests test takers’ ability to comprehend academic reading materials.
In this section, the format of questions Is multiple choices and content of test questions Involves In various ways such as testing vocabulary, details, and mall Ideas. To avoid creating an advantage to examinees In any one field of study, sufficient context Is provided so that no specific subject can be used to answer the questions. It is a big advantage of the test. Moreover, other advantage is like that, due to diversified questions, it helps learners to know how to get information effectively in a limited time.
It also encourages test takers to read more academic materials involving in different area and critically think how to read deferent academic articles when they are learning. However, the questions of reading test mostly adopt multiple choice rather than short answer. It may limit takers to think more about their own opinion. For example, when testing about vocabulary, the question Just gives four choices and asks examinees to choose the best one. Actually, there are also have a lot of words can be selected.
The goal of the question Is to assess test takers about their understanding of this word. Therefore, I think If questions may ask examinees to write down their own words based on their comprehension that Is better. In the listening section, it involves in dialogues and academic talks. The purpose of this section is to test listening comprehension in academic environment. In other words, it measures test takers’ ability of listening for basic comprehension, listening for pragmatic understanding and to connect and combine ideas presented in multiple information sources.
Like reading section, the formats of questions also adopt various ways. Moreover, examinees’ note taking can be practiced and improved from the listening test. Dialogues and lectures talking will last more than one minute. To most of them, they cannot memorize the whole content without noting. Therefore, how to write down key information in a limited time can be a skill for test takers who will study In an academic atmosphere. Furthermore, diverse formats provide a good opportunity for them to realize how to master essential Information with thinking different ways.
The speed of listening Is normal speed and sometimes, the listening test involves in different voices of pronunciation to make test takers know and listening test as we discussed above. I think the way that listening test needs to improve is similar to reading test. It also means that using open questions replace multiple choices can be thought. Next part is speaking test. This section will test ability to communicate effectively in a variety of situations.
The ability of synthesizing and summarizing what test takers have read in their textbooks and heard in and outside of the class, the skill of forming their own opinions in response to the information they have processed, well-developed, coherent and clear idea with effective use of grammar, and good pronunciation and intonation these are main goals to assess speaking ability. The strength of this part is to combine reading with speaking and to provide opinion-based questions. Moreover, the degree of each question be tested is gradually harder.
The topic for examinees may also from familiar to a little hard to understand. In my opinion, the speaking test can be a bad section as well as a good one in TOEFL. The good way is that it not Just evaluates speaking ability in academic way but also involves in common environment. It not just has output but input first such as reading, and then speaking. Nevertheless, due to the test is based on Internet, that is, speaking section also needs to be tested in the computer, and it brings a problem.
Compared with talking to examiners, it is not flexible. It has no communication between examinees and examiners. For my perspective, test takers also may feel anxiety because there has no response when hey speak and feel nervous or without good preparation to speak due to time limited. The last component in TOEFL is the writing section. It measures ability to write in standard academic English. It divides into two parts: integrated writing task and independent writing task.
The goal of the first part integrated writing task asks examiners to demonstrate that they have understood material coming from different sources (reading and listening) and to combine the information from those sources in a coherent, well organized, summarized written form to draw conclusions of the important points. The independent writing task aims to measure the students’ ability to state their opinions or express their comments on topics which are based on their personal knowledge and experience. In general, if test takers want to get a higher score, they should know steps of essay and practice more in academic ways.
The good thing of this TOEFL writing test is using academic materials to integrate reading and listening to write a summary. Although topic of independent writing task is not necessary referring to academic issues, the writing steps should follow in academic steps. Moreover, owing to computer-based writing, the score is not influenced by handwriting. Nevertheless, it may also be a problem due to time limit especially for some people who are not good at typing or have not well speediness. It is a little hard to deal with except encouraging these persons to practice more about their typing.
To sum up, I think TOEFL test is a good test though it brings some challenge to me. There have a lot of benefits of this test. Firstly, it ensures that test- takers are being measured objectively on the same material. The grading is standardized based on rubrics provided by TEST, so test scores are the same no matter whom or what is scoring them. Secondly, there is no age, no gender and no nationality limit for taking the test. Anyone who wants to assess their English language performance especially for people who need to study aboard in English feedback.
When persons received their result, score will definitely appear in their paper and evaluation of each section will be provided so that examinees are able to know the strength and weakness of themselves in general ways. Finally, the speaking and writing parts integrate some input tasks such as reading and listening to test rather than be measured separately. The integrated tasks may be considered more Hellenizing in the test will help learners build the confidence needed to communicate in the academic environments they plan to enter because students need to be able to combine their language skills in the classroom.
Appropriate challenge will improve learners to more think about their weakness of language learning and hence to find effective ways they can develop. However, there still have some limitations in the test. In the first place, although test takers can be offered some feedbacks from the organization, the feedbacks of scores Just simplify the degree of their performance. They cannot get more individual feedback about the strength and weakness they have according to the test. Likewise, each level still has its deviation.
Even though examinees can get same level of sections for each test, they may confuse about the score why last time they can get a high score whereas this time is a low score. In the second place, I feel the time arrangement also has its problem. In general, the test will last three hours at least but Just ten minutes for break from morning to afternoon. For many test takers, the time may make them feel exhausted and influence their performance more or less. In the third place, the procedure of the test may also have its weakness.
In order to avoid cheating in the test, examiners require learners to answer extra section such as reading or listening based on different individuals randomly. Hence, it will result in the time of speaking section beginning different. It is unfair to the individuals who are doing speaking earlier while others who are still doing reading or listening part can have a chance to listen others’ speaking and have more time to prepare during the break. The final point I want to mention is that there have a lot of test preparation for each section test.
Learners will make more focus on searching or studying methods in order to get a higher score rather than improve their language ability. As we discussed above the limitation, not all can get right solution. But I think we still are able to find some ways to improve. Firstly, the examiners can provide rubrics of each specific score for test takers instead of the level of performance. That is, I think they need to list more details of each point and make learners more better understanding about why they can get this point and why they cannot get. The feedback should mainly reflect individual’s strength and weakness instead of general errors.
The general problem also can be placed in the reflection but not in the domain way. Secondly, when talking about dealing with the procedure, I think administers may provide another place for test takers about test speaking. In other words, when finishing their reading and listening part, examiners need to go the place which dedicated to speaking test after having a rest. Finally, due to various test preparation, in my opinion, I believe that form of diversification can be a good way to assess. For example, applying more open questions instead of multiple choices may be helpful for improving learners high order thinking.