I found the following story from the ETS "Success Stories" files
about the TOEIC® Listening & Reading test particularly interesting for two reasons. First of all, it describes problems with in-house placement tests similar to those we frequently hear about from our clients. Second, it discusses an advantage that I don't think people always think about in relation to TOEIC tests the speed with which our university and other institutional clients can get information back on the English language skills of their students or employees.
The Challenge: Placing incoming students quickly and accurately.
The University of Toronto is the largest university in Canada and a leading higher-learning institution. As part of its School of Continuing Studies, the university offers an Intensive English Program for international students. About 150 students enroll in
each eight-week session, with five levels from beginner through advanced.
With so many students enrolling in each session, the Intensive English Program found that its in-house, hand-scored placement test was difficult to administer and score in a timely manner. Students complained that they had been placed in the wrong class, so the accuracy of the in-house test was also in question.
The University of Toronto now uses the TOEIC® test because it is:
- A reliable placement test for varying levels
- Suitable for all of its programs
- Rapidly scored
- Appropriate as an exit test to measure student progress for entrance into the next level
- Internationally recognized
All incoming students are given the TOEIC test so that they can be placed into one of the school’s five language levels. At the end of the session, students take the TOEIC test again, allowing them to measure their progress and provide them with a credential demonstrating their achievement.
Due to the accuracy of TOEIC test results, the number of student requests for class transfers has dropped dramatically compared with the in-house placement test. Students are happy to take the TOEIC test because they feel that there is less chance of being placed in the wrong class level.
The school has been able to save time, money and resources by testing all incoming students at the same time and placing them in classes within 48 hours.
Lia Nigro, TOEIC USA. Case study from ETS Success Stories