Thursday, August 12, 2004

TOEFL test: Computer vs. paper versions

I've recently been interested in the TOEFL test, which now has a computerized version in addition to the paper version. The two tests provide different scores with most undergraduate programs calling for approximately 525 to 550, and graduate programs for a score ranging from 550 to 600. Some studies have been done to ascertain whether the two versions are in fact comparable. Rozendaal, for example, has a paper providing a short overview of research titled Fairness Issues with Computer Familiarity in Computer-Based Language Testing. The author concludes: "The studies reviewed in this paper, while not exhaustive, seem to generally indicate that fairness issues arising from differences in computer familiarity among test-takers can be mitigated." Sawaki has a more detailed research study that looks at the issue. Puhan and Boughton also have a study.

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