105 days. From February 15 to May 30, 2020, the TOEFL iBT test was unavailable in Mainland China. ETS' TOEFL iBT test is a mainstay of English language assessment in China, with hundreds of thousands of students depending on it to apply to English-taught programs across the world every year.
Facing mass test-center closures, ETS launched an at-home version of the TOEFL iBT test worldwide in March. This at-home test was unavailable in Mainland China, prompting the creation of TOEFL ITP Plus for China. Registration for this proctored, in-person exam began on May 15, and the first test was written on May 30.
As educators around the globe scramble to digitize admissions and course offerings, eduFair sat down with Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program, to learn more about the launch of the TOEFL ITP Plus for China.
TOEFL ITP Plus for China vs.TOEFL iBT
The TOEFL ITP Plus test shares the same heritage as the TOEFL iBT, rooted in academic English and focused on academic proficiency, placing a priority on measuring English communication in an academic context.
Both tests have been benchmarked to the CEFR levels to ensure easy interpretation of scores. The test covers similar content to the TOEFL iBT, with the exception of the speaking portion, which is covered by an interview facilitated and processed by Vericant, a well-known interview provider in China.
According to Gopal, security and quality are comparable to the TOEFL iBT test and remain a top priority. The included (unscored) Vericant interview is also interactive and performed in real-time, either in person or through Zoom, ensuring interview content is secure. Interview questions are randomly selected, with follow-up questions based on student responses, guaranteeing that no two interviews are the same.
The test is delivered in-person and accepted by schools across the world for admissions purposes. Unlimited score reports can be sent to multiple schools, incurring no additional costs. The combined test and interview results can also be re-taken in full, or for RMB 495, students can take a standalone version of the TOEFL ITP test (excluding the interview). There are no restrictions as to how many times the test can be sat.
The TOEFL ITP Plus will be available in China until TOEFL iBT testing is readily available. Registration dates are currently available through the end of August, with the potential for additional dates if needed.
On the Ground: Reactions From Chinese Students:
The test has made headlines in China, becoming a top 10 trending topic on Weibo (a Chinese platform similar to Twitter). Contributing to the anticipation, China’s Ministry of Education has not yet authorized the IELTS test, which means that there is a huge backlog of students waiting to prove their English abilities. As a respected standard of English language proficiency, the TOEFL ITP Plus test is gaining recognition and popularity in China.
Who Are The Early Adopters?
More than 250 schools worldwide have confirmed they accept the TOEFL ITP Plus for China, in addition to another more than 50 schools that already use TOEFL ITP for admissions purposes. Besides institutions in Canada, United States, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, schools from countries as varied as Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Japan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Singapore are also accepting the test.
Ultimately, as the education sector races to catch up with changes caused by COVID19, the TOEFL ITP Plus remains a dependable step in the international application process, for both institutions and applicants.
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