Now in preprint from Daniel Isbell and Nicholas Coney is an article examining how English Language Proficiency tests are used at 146 research-intensive universities in the USA.  It examines which tests are used for admissions, what cut scores are used (and they compare across tests), and how subscores are used in admissions decisions.

The authors learned that the TOEFL iBT, IELTS, Duolingo, and PTE-A tests are most widely accepted, and in that order.

A few fun bits:

  • The TOEFL iBT is accepted for unconditional undergraduate admission at 135 schools, the IELTS at 133 schools, the Duolingo at 110 schools and the PTE-A at 61 schools.  I suppose this will be a priority of the folks at Pearson in the years ahead.  Though the test has (I think) moved into the #2 spot worldwide in terms of test taker volume, they still have plenty of room for growth in this area.
  • For unconditional graduate general admissions, the numbers are a bit different. The TOEFL is accepted at 117 schools, the IELTS at 116, the DET at 62, and the PTE-A at 54.  Obviously both the Pearson and Duo folks may wish to prioritize this area.
  • I was very pleased to see that the TOEFL CBT, which ceased to exist in 2006 is still accepted for unconditional admission to 11 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate general programs.  The TOEFL PBT, which was discontinued in 2017, is even more popular.  I suppose ETS ought to prioritize communications with score users in the years ahead.
  • As I have noted in my “score requirement tracker” posts, Duolingo cut scores have not always kept pace with revisions to their score concordance tables.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is some really wonderful data here, so do check it out.

Note, of course, that the above figures may have changed since the time the data was gathered.

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