It’s a great day, everybody! The TOEFL Test and Score Data Summary for 2019 is available!
These annual reports provide valuable data about test taker performance. While this year’s figures are similar to last year’s figures, the following data points were mildly interesting to me:
- The overall mean (average) score is still 83. But that figure is rounded, and it looks like there was still a significant fractional increase this year.
- The mean reading score is now 21.2 (+.4)
- The mean listening score is now 20.9 (+.3)
- The mean speaking score is now 20.6 (+.1)
- The mean writing score is now 20.5 (-.2)
It is interesting that the writing score has decreased. That may represent an ongoing trend. Here are writing scores since 2010:
- 2019: 20.5
- 2018: 20.7
- 2017: 20.8
- 2016: 20.9
- 2015: 20.6
- 2014: 20.3
- 2013: 20.6
- 2012: No data
- 2011: No data
- 2010: 20.7
Some students do claim that the writing section has been getting more difficult in recent years. They may be correct about that, but it looks like the test was really challenging back in 2014. And it is exactly where it was a decade ago.
Interestingly, the other sections are all up since 2010. Some by a lot:
- Reading: 20.1 –> 21.2
- Listening: 19.5 –> 20.9
- Speaking: 20.0 –> 20.6
It is also worth noting that the use of automated speaking scoring does not appear to have affected average speaking scores, but that technology was only used during the last five months of 2019.
As always, it seems like a lot of the overall increase in scores is coming from the test-prep powerhouses of East Asia. Scores in China are +1 (to 81), scores in Japan are +1 (to 72) and scores in Taiwan are +1 (to 83). However, scores in Korea are -1 (to 83).
Scores in the key markets of Brazil (87) and India (95) are unchanged.
I would love to see which countries have the most test-takers, but I suspect that information is confidential.
The highest scoring country is now Austria, where the average score is 100.
Women still outperform men in listening, speaking and writing.