The Educational Testing Service (ETS) will soon start offering the English language test TOEFL as a personalised test depending upon individual requirements as well as the test takers’ background to make the assessment as unbiased as possible, said a report by PTI.

Rohit Sharma, global senior vice president of higher education and work skills, ETS, told PTI about the Princeton-based agency’s plan for personalised assessments for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and increased usage of Artificial Intelligence in the test.

“The ideal future of assessment is to provide every individual with a personalised assessment based on their background, making it as unbiased as possible. For example, if someone with an Indian background takes the test, is it the same as someone with a German background? Statistically, there’s no significant difference,” said Sharma. “However, it would be better if, when registering for the test, you could indicate your specific needs, like applying for a journalism programme, and the test could adapt to assess higher-level writing skills, for instance.” 

TOEFL, a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers who aspire to study in English-speaking universities, is accepted by more than 12,000 institutions in more than 160 countries.

According to the report, ETS is also looking at personalisation based on background.

“For example, students from India might be strong in written English but need improvement in spoken English. Personalised assessments are likely to take about 24 to 36 months to be rolled out. This also involves working with institutions that are willing to adopt and pay for these differentiated assessments, as it breaks away from the norm of standardised assessments,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI.

Earlier this year, ETS made several changes in the 60-year-old test that include reducing the duration to less than two hours instead of three and allowing the candidates to be able to see their official score release date upon completion of the test.

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Published: 17 Dec 2023, 03:21 PM IST