The other day, I woke up to TWO emails from random strangers letting me know that their TOEFL scores were cancelled due to something resembling an accusation of plagiarism. The emails themselves weren’t strange – I get weird emails all the time since I am the only a few people writing about the minutiae of standardized language tests online.

What’s fascinating is that back in the day (say, 2021 and earlier) I would get ONE such report each year. Now I get multiple reports of score cancellations due to plagiarism each month. Sometimes multiple reports in a single week.

I don’t have access to the data, but I suspect something is different than before.

In each case, the test-taker gets the exact same un-specific notification:

“In the quality control process, the ETS Writing staff noticed that your response(s) to the integrated/independent Writing task did not reflect a response to the assigned task. This was noticeable since the responses for which you receive a score should be your own original and independent work. Further reviews determined that a portion of your Writing response(s) contains ideas, language and/or examples found in other test taker responses or from published sources.”

No further information is provided, even when specifically requested.

In all but one case, the students have denied (to me) committing actions along these lines.

There have been suggestions that AI is used to detect plagiarism nowadays, but I haven’t gotten a confirmation of that.

I don’t know if any of this matters, but it might be interesting to test-watchers.

I read today that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) has reached a settlement with the US Attorney’s office “to resolve allegations of discrimination in violate of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”

It is frustrating for me to see other testing providers winning plaudits for making education more accessible, while ETS is settling an ADA case… again.

The settlement agreement describes the case thusly:

“While the complaints varied by the particular circumstances, they all involved candidates with disabilities who stated that they were denied testing accommodations on the GRE and Praxis examinations, and/or that ETS delayed providing a final response to a request for a particular testing accommodation, thus preventing the testing candidate from taking the relevant ETS-administered examination with the needed testing accommodation. Furthermore, Complainants alleged unnecessary delays or confusing requirements to obtain and utilize needed testing accommodations.”

You can read the settlement agreement at the link above. If nothing else, read the accounts of the nine complainants. I found some of the quite shocking. The last two involve issues with at-home testing, which is something I have followed over the past few years. The details of the final complainant, in particular, made me see red:

“Approximately one month after ETS made at-home testing available to those in need of certain accommodations, A.C. was able to schedule an examination with the previously granted accommodations. During Complainant A.C.’s at-home examination, ETS’s third-party online proctor service appeared unaware of the previously granted accommodations and closed A.C.’s examination when he attempted to take an approved break. A.C. ultimately spent several hours with technical support seeking permission to return to his examination. When he was able to return, he did not use any of his approved additional breaks for fear of having his examination closed a second time. In light of the disruptions to his examination, A.C. sought to retake the GRE before the normal 21-day waiting period. ETS did not grant him permission to do so.”

As I’ve written here too many times, we should always strive to do better when it comes to at-home testing.

Anyway. The settlement agreement details four pages of actions ETS must take. The complainants will receive monetary relief of up to $10,000 USD. ETS management must attend an Americans with Disabilities training course. Attendance will be taken and provided to the United States.

Update: I spoke to a test-taker in India who was offered the chance to appeal.  Maybe decisions are now made on a case-by-case basis, or maybe things have changed in recent days.  Time will tell.

It looks like my interpretation of the new TOEFL bulletin was correct.  It appears that there have been changes to how score cancellations due to statistical analysis are handled.  It looks like test-takers outside of the USA are no longer offered refunds or the chance to appeal their scores.

I was contacted today by a student who took the TOEFL test in August 2022 and October 2022 outside of the USA. His October scores were canceled because that test “showed inconsistent performance” compared to the August administration.

This sort of thing happens often enough that I get emails about it all the time. What’s interesting is that, unlike past test-takers, this test-taker wasn’t offered a chance to appeal to the Board of Review, to get a refund, to get a free reschedule or even to access the statistical analysis of his scores (the “score data summary”). The scores were just canceled.

This is an unfortunate change, in my opinion.

Note that test-takers in the USA are likely still offered the above options.

The TOEFL Information Bulletin was updated this month.  Most of the changes are to URLs that were adjusted in the recent overhaul of the TOEFL website.  But there are some curious changes to the section on invalid scores.  TOEFL score cancellations are a popular topic on social media nowadays, so this is important to note, I think.

Here is the version from last month:

ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they’re invalid for any other reason. “Substantial evidence” means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person. The substantial evidence standard is lower (meaning it requires less proof ) than the “beyond a reasonable doubt,” “clear and convincing,” or “preponderance of the evidence” standards. Evidence of invalid scores can include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, discrepant photographs, unusual answer patterns, or inconsistent performance on different parts of the test.

Before canceling scores pursuant to this paragraph, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses those concerns, considers any such information submitted, and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancelation, a free re-test, a voucher for a future test, or arbitration in accordance with the ETS standard Arbitration Agreement. The arbitration option is only available for tests administered in the United States at the time of testing.

Here is the NEW version (I have highlighted some important changes):

ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they’re invalid for any other reason. “Substantial evidence” means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person. The substantial evidence standard is lower (i.e., requires less proof ) than the “reasonable doubt”, “clear and convincing,” or “preponderance of the evidence” standards. Evidence of invalid scores may include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, discrepant photographs, unusual answer patterns, or inconsistent performance on different parts of the test.

Score cancellation decisions are not subject to appeal to ETS. For test takers within the United States, before canceling scores based on substantial evidence of invalidity, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses those concerns, considers any such information submitted, and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancellation, a voucher of a future test, a free retest, or arbitration in accordance with the ETS standard Arbitration Agreement. The final decision whether to cancel scores based on substantial evidence of invalidity is made by the ETS Office of Testing Integrity after reviewing any information addressing ETS concerns submitted by the test taker.

A few things are worth noting here:

  1.  Canceled scores have never been subject to appeal, but it is interesting to see that stated in print.
  2.  It is interesting that the United States is mentioned in the second line.  To date, test-takers around the world have been notified.  I wonder if this will change moving forward.  I will let you know.
  3. In some cases, scores have been canceled without test-takers being given the opportunity to submit information.  This includes security problems in the home edition, cases where ETS feels that test-takers have received assistance, and in cases of suspected plagiarism.  I wonder if this will change moving forward.

It is also worth noting that the old “Why and How ETS Questions TOEFL Scores” page on the ETS website is no longer online.  That’s a shame, as it contained a lot of useful information.  I wonder if that represents a change to how cancelled scores will be handled moving forward.

 

Update: It is working again!  Everyone can register.

I think the TOEFL registration system has stopped working again.

When I try to register for the TOEFL iBT Home Edition Test I get this error:

“No available slots in this time range” 

others have reported this error:

“The test center and/or test date/time are no longer available” 

I think it is still possible to register to take the test at a test center.

People on social media are reporting the same thing right now for the past 24 hours.  I think that the same error has been reported in the past.  It seems to get fixed eventually.  

Yesterday I wrote about ways to improve the pre- and post-test experience for test-takers.  I suppose “improve the backend” could be added to that list.  It seems to be that registration for the TOEFL is quite often offline for maintenance, or offline because of a mysterious error.  

Update: People on social media have indicated that it is not possible to register for a test at a test center at this time.

Update 2: Users attempting to register for the GRE get the same error.

 

As promised, here are my thoughts about how ETS can help test-takers to have an enjoyable experience throughout their TOEFL journey. Since I’m not qualified to speak about the content of the test, this article will focus entirely on the pre- and post-test experience.

Keep in mind that I’m not trying to pick on my friends at the Educational Testing Service.  I am a great admirer of that organization, its people and its mission.  But ETS is seems to be going through a period of transition (into something more streamlined and responsive) so perhaps my thoughts can be of use now. Needless to say, I’ve hesitated to share such ideas in public in the past.

Note also that these suggestions don’t just come from my experience.  They come from the opinions of the thousands of test-takers I’ve worked with directly, and from the comments of the thousands more who have contacted me via the blog and on social media.

Here goes.

  •  The TOEFL website may be considered old-fashioned. Key information is hard to find.

In the “For Test Takers” section of the website, critical information is spread across approximately 90 static pages, 17 embedded videos, a dozen PDFs and a few ZIP archives.  This is a somewhat dated approach to website design.  As a longtime user of the site, it seems like various UX elements have been grafted onto an original frame dating from 2011.

Consider the path a student must follow to get to a practice test:

Start on ets.org/toefl → scroll and click on “test takers” → click on “about the test” → click on “prepare for the test” in a sidebar → click on “practice tests” in the body of the page → click on “launch the TOEFL iBT Free practice test.”

Compare this to the Duolingo English Test website, where the same goal is accomplished with a single click from the homepage.

Next, compare this: https://www.pearsonpte.com/preparation/on-test-day

To this: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/test-day/

The difference is clear.  Pearson has a much more modern design.  Key information is presented on a single page, and superfluous information is omitted.  Meanwhile, ETS uses ten different pages (and a couple of videos) to share a similar amount of information.

Suggestion:  Scrap the website and start again.  The user experience is so dated that yet another patchwork revision would just make it worse.  Eliminate all of the extraneous stuff. Rewrite the stuff people do look at. Modernize the interface of the user account.  Use the new PTE Academic website (https://www.pearsonpte.com/pte-academic) as a model.  Get rid of all PDF and ZIP files.

  •  There is no FAQ or Help Center.

I am puzzled by the fact that ETS doesn’t provide an FAQ page for the TOEFL Test.

Answers to simple questions (like “when will my PDF score report be available for download” or “how do I reinstate canceled scores” or “what does scores not available mean” or “what the heck is an Error 476”) are either not available or are buried deep in the website. Some information is only available in the “TOEFL Bulletin” PDF file that is rarely read.  Students resort to making long distance calls to the customer support department for answers.

Here’s what Pearson offers:  https://www.pearsonpte.com/help-center/general-faqs

And Duolingo: https://testcenter.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

Calls to the support center could be drastically reduced by providing easy access to this kind of information on the website.

Suggestion:  Implement a modern “help center” page using something like Zendesk.  Or just create a static page that answers the most common questions. Talk to people within and outside the company about what questions they are asked again and again.  Remember that young people nowadays feel very uncomfortable talking on the phone. 

  •  The registration process could be overwhelming and stressful

Consider the process students must follow after selecting a test date and location:

  • An acknowledgement that they have read a huge chunk of provided legalese and that they have also read the 41 page TOEFL Bulletin.
  • A long pitch to sign up for the TOEFL Search Service.
  • A request for background information.
  • A request to select score recipients.
  • A baffling request for an Agent ID number and a review of the above.
  • An attempt to upsell them practice materials that scrolls on forever.
  • A shopping cart
  • A checkout screen
  • A payment screen

This can take from 10 to 20 minutes to get through.  Compare that to other tests, where registration is completed in just a few minutes.

Suggestion:  Move as much of this as possible to sometime post-registration.  When possible, move it to the post-test stage.  Run a study tracking how long it takes to sign up for the test.  Adjust as needed.

  •  The free practice material is limited

Note how the free practice test provided by Duolingo is a fairly accurate simulation of their test.  It even implements automated writing and speaking scoring. That was a game changer for Duolingo and likely played a huge part in its rapid ascent. It makes students really familiar with how the test works.  It makes test-takers feel that they are getting something from the testing company instead of being asked to give, give, give.

In contrast, the free practice test on ETS is not an accurate simulation of the real test, nor does it include automated scoring.  Additional content is provided in a zip archive (!!!).

Suggestion:  Provide a free online practice test that is different every time a student takes it.  Just pick and mix sections from those 65 TPOs that are currently sold to Chinese schools.  I can’t do math, but that sounds like it would make possible thousands of unique variations.  Implement the SpeechRater and e-rater in the speaking and writing sections.  This is all possible.

  •  The fee to send scores is perceived as onerous

Some test-takers feel that it doesn’t cost ETS anything to send scores to universities. So being charged $20 per school is problematic to them.

They also know that Pearson allows students to send an infinite number of scores to an infinite number of schools at no cost. Same for the Duolingo English Test. That makes them feel good about the TTX over there.  

Suggestion:  Eliminate this fee.

  •  The pricing of the Home Edition is perplexing

Test-takers have noticed that it costs $185 to take the TOEFL Home Edition from their bedroom in Sri Lanka, and $335 to take it from their bedroom in Switzerland.  They can’t wrap their heads around this fact.

Suggestion:  Fix this.

  • Some people find the TOEFL Search Service frustrating

For me, the search service only comes up in conversation when a test-taker asks “what the heck is going on with all these unwanted calls?”  No one has ever spoken to me about the search service in a positive light.  Some students have shared negative opinions of the marketing methods used by participating institutions.  Stopping these pitches currently requires a long-distance call to ETS.

Suggestion:  Make the search service “opt-out” by default, and don’t include it in the registration process.  Simplify the opt-out process.  

  •  OTI waiting times are sometimes quite long

Some students have told me that they have waited more than 100 days for their scores to clear the OTI’s review process.  That’s too long, and it creates a negative experience for them.  Reduce these waiting times. Consider bringing back the old position of “test-taker advocate” to help students who are dealing with exceptionally long waiting times.

Update: Just so I don’t forget, here’s my list of additional miscellaneous suggestions, as I remember them:

  • The old score reports were great.  They provided a level (not a score) for each writing task, and each natural pair of speaking tasks.  Students loved them as they provided a little guidance re: what to study.  Bring back something like that, even if it is just part of the ETS account.
  • Fix the GRE/TOEFL account login bug.  That’s still annoying.
  • Provide more descriptive error messages for billing failures.  Those are perplexing.  At least suggest a solution.
  • Fix the EIAS system error bug, or provide a proper error message.
  • Clear up the remaining issues in the Official Guide.
  • Remove the “cancel scores” option from the end of the test.  This is easier to do if score reports are all free.
  • Provide the score PDF at the same time as the scores are reported.
  • If the Home Edition is immediately cancelled because some background software is running, tell the test-taker what was running so they can avoid the problem next time

ETS has confirmed that students in Russia and Belarus can now register to take the TOEFL Home Edition and the at home GRE from within Russia and Belarus.  However, they may not take those tests at a test center. 

Here is the press release announcing this change:

Beginning August 4, ETS is updating its March 2022 policy and will now allow test takers in Russia and Belarus to register for the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, TOEFL Essentials and at home GRE tests barring any financial restrictions they may encounter.

Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, students in Russia and Belarus remain unable to take these tests at a test center within these countries. Students who prefer to test in person are welcome to take an exam in other countries or regions barring any travel and financial restrictions they may encounter.

We remain firmly committed to supporting all learners on their education journeys and hope peace prevails as soon as possible.

Testing in Russia and Belarus was suspended in March by ETS with an announcement that the testing organization stood “in unity with the people of Ukraine with hope that peace prevails.”

According to reports from Mediazona, test-takers in Russia and Belarus will be permitted to take the TOEFL Home Edition starting August 4.   Testing in those countries was shut down in March of this year when ETS ceased operations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  For a few hours this month, that ban actually extended to Russian citizens around the world.  

Interestingly, the report indicates that students will only be able to take the TOEFL Home Edition… and will not be able to take it at a test center.

Mediazona cites an ETS rep as the source of this news.  I guess the GRE will return in a similar fashion, since it is also an ETS test.

Update: ETS has now issued a press release confirming the above information.  Students in Russia and Belarus can take the TOEFL Home Edition and the at-home GRE.

It is worth keeping an eye on the IELTS test, which was shut down in Russia around the same time.  Same for Pearson’s PTE.

 

As promised, here is my updated list of nine commandments for better test-taker experience (TTX) before and after a standardized English test. 

I suppose I will post my list of suggestions specifically for the TOEFL program in the next day or two.  I’ve so far neglected to do that because I don’t wish to offend anyone at ETS.  I admire that organization and its mission.  That said, they seem to be in a period of renewal and transition (to something better).  Perhaps this is actually a good time to make suggestions.

These commandments, meanwhile, apply to every test providing organization.

1. Make all critical  information accessible within one or two clicks from the test’s home page.  Not five or six clicks. 

2. Provide a beautiful FAQ page that quickly answers questions that are asked every day.  Don’t bury important information in a bunch of PDFs or nested sidebar menus. This will not only improve test-taker experience, but will significantly reduce calls to your customer support lines.

3. If the test is taken at home, the price should be the same in every country (other than local sales taxes).  Don’t charge $185 to take the test from my bedroom in country X, and $340 to take it from my bedroom in country Y.

4. Make it possible for students to create an account, register and pay for their test in less than five minutes.

5. Provide a free practice test that is different every time the student takes it.   If your test uses automated scoring, implement that in your free practice test.

6. Eliminate most extra fees. If scores are sent electronically, don’t charge $15 per recipient. That looks exploitative. There should be one single transaction – registration for the test.  Give everything else away for free.

7. If you are selling access to the scores and personal data of test takers, make that opt-out by default. And if a student needs to opt-out at a later time, enable them to do so via the website. Don’t require a long-distance telephone call to your customer support desk.

8. Don’t play favorites when it comes to your target markets, or countries with the most growth potential. People are savvy, and they can see what you’re doing. It frustrates them. Make sure everyone has the same access to preparation materials, discounts, fee waivers and special promotions.

9. If you are running a non-profit organization, state explicitly how test-takers’ fees are used.

I saw new ETS president Amit Sevak on The PIE Chat a few days ago.  He spoke about many interesting topics, but a few things he mentioned about the TOEFL program are worth repeating here.  They are:

  • He said that “almost a million students every year take TOEFL”.  That’s the first official reference to the number of test takers I have seen in a long time. 
  • He said that ETS would like to expand the use of TOEFL for migration purposes.  
  • He noted that ETS would like to expand the TOEIC program.  That’s interesting, and I would love to hear some details about how ETS figures they can go about this.

At the end, he noted (emphasis mine):

“I’m increasingly focusing on the student… we are standing up not only for the test, but we’re standing up for the test taker. And starting to get into the mind of what are test takers interested in, what kind of experience do they want, what is the goal that they have of taking that assessment.  So really being more customer centric or more student centric or more learner centric is a key component of it.”

That’s really key for the future of the TOEFL (and other ETS products).  Some outside of the organization have suggested that in recent years ETS has backslid in this regard.  I’ll dust off my blog post about test taker experience and post an updated version in the next day or two. 

ETS has just published its “Test and Score Data Summary” for 2021.  This document contains a ton of valuable information, including average scores (and section scores) overall and in specific countries.

The average TOEFL score is now 88 points.  That’s an increase of one point since last year.

Here’s a history of the average score since the test began:

  • 2006: 79
  • 2007: 78
  • 2008: 79
  • 2009: 79
  • 2010: 80
  • 2011 (not available)
  • 2012 (not available)
  • 2013: 81
  • 2014: 80
  • 2015: 81
  • 2016: 82
  • 2017: 82
  • 2018: 83 
  • 2019: 83
  • 2020: 87
  • 2021: 88

As you can see, this year’s jump is not as wild as in 2020, but a one point increase is still significant.

Here’s how the section scores changed (compared to last year):

  • The average TOEFL reading score is now 22.4 (+0.2)
  • The average TOEFL listening score is now 22.6 (+.03)
  • The average TOEFL speaking score is now 21.1 (-0.1)
  • The average TOEFL writing score is now 21.6 (+0.1)

I pay special attention to trends in a few key markets.  I noticed that in all of the countries I track, the average score is unchanged.

  • The average score in China is 87 
  • The average score in Korea is 86 
  • The average score in Japan is 73 
  • The average score in Brazil is 90 
  • The average score in India 96 
  • The average score in the USA is 93

At first glance, it seems like the overall score increase is due to smaller markets “catching up” to the increases in the rest of the world that were observed in last year’s numbers.

 

The cost of taking the TOEFL in some countries increased this month.  Usually the price increases on August 1, but I think it was hiked on July 1 this season.  Note that some prices were increased on February 1 of this year as well.

A few things stand out:

  • I spotted increases in: Cuba, Ghana, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States.
  • Note that I only track 62 countries, so I probably missed some changes.  If you want your country added to the tracker (for next time) just leave a comment.
  • Switzerland remains the most expensive country to take the test at $345.  Sri Lanka seems to be the cheapest, at $185.
  • The price has increased in Morocco four times since February of last year.  Same for South Africa.
  • I don’t track China since ETS doesn’t handle the registration, but my sources there indicate that the price remains 2100 RMB, or about $314 USD.
  • I suppose I will check again on August 1 just in case there are further adjustments.

Here’s the master list.  I’ve removed the first two columns, but I have the data if you need it.  All prices are in USD.

Country

February 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

February 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Afghanistan 

$220

$230 

$230

$230

Argentina

$205

$205

$215

$215

Australia

$300

$273 + tax

$273+tax

$273+tax

Azerbaijan

$195

$205 

$205

$205

Bangladesh

$200

$205 

$205

$205

Benin

$185

$185

$190

$190

Bolivia

?

$185

$190

$190

Brazil

$215

$215

$215

$215

Canada

$245

$225 + tax

$225 + tax

$225 + tax

Colombia

$240

$202 + tax

$202 + tax

$202 + tax

Congo, DR

$195

$195

$195

$195

Cuba

?

$205

$215

$225

Egypt

$185

$195 

$205

$205

Ethiopia

$200

$210 

$220

$220

France

$265

$265

$265

$265

French Polynesia

?

?

?

?

Georgia

$185

$190 

$195

$195

Germany

$260

$265 

$265

$265

Ghana

$220

$220

$225

$235

Guadalupe

$195

$195

$200

$200

Guatamala

?

$195

$195

$205

Hong Kong

$245

$255 

$265

$275

Indonesia

$205

$205

$205

$205

Iceland

$220

$220

$230

$230

India

$185

$190 

$190

$190

Iran

$245

$245

$245

$245

Iraq

$215

$225 

$225

$235

Israel

$280

$280

$290

$300

Italy

$270

$280 

$280

$280

Japan

$245

$245

$245

$245

Jordan

$200

$205 

$210

$210

Kenya

$220

$225 

$225

$225

Korea

$210

$220 

$220

$220

Kosovo

?

$200

$200

$200

Mexico

$190

$200 

$200

$210

Mongolia

$210

$215 

$215

$215

Morocco

$220

$230 

$240

$250

Netherlands

$265

$270 

$270

$270

New Zealand

$275

$275

$275

$275

Nigeria

$195

$182 + tax

$182 + tax

$182 + tax

Norway

$315

$325 

$325

$325

Pakistan

$195

$200 

$200

$205

Palestinian Territories

$245

$245

$255

$255

Paraguay

?

$225

$230

$240

Peru

$220

$220

$220

$230

Philippines

$215

$225 

$225

$225

Russia

$260

$270 

$270

--

Saudi Arabia

?

?

$290

$300

South Africa

$235

$240 

$245

$250

Spain

$250

$255 

$255

$255

Sri Lanka

?

?

$185

$185

Sweden

$280

$290 

$290

$300

Switzerland

$320

$335 

$335

$345

Tajikistan

$185

$185

$190

$190

Thailand

$215

$215

$215

$215

Turkey

$185

$157 + tax

$157 + tax

$157 + tax

Uganda

$225

$235 

$235

$245

United Arab Emirates

$255

$270 

$270

$280

United Kingdom

$220

$235 

$235

$235

United States

$225

$235 + tax?

$235 + tax

$245 + tax

Vietnam

$200

$200

$200

$200

West Bank

$215

$215

$215

$215

Today I want to pass along a few details from the Virtual Seminar for English Language Teachers hosted by ETS last night.

One of the presenters provided new details about how the speaking questions are scored. He prefaced these details by sharing a sample type 3 speaking question.  Here is the reading part:

And here is a transcript of the listening part:

 

A standard question, right?

Then we were shown the “answer sheet” that is given to raters so they know how to assess topic development.  This is new information.  Here it is:

That’s interesting, right?  My assessment of this is that for an answer to receive a full score for topic development it must explicitly or implicitly reference the term and its definition.  It must also broadly summarize the example.  And then it must include just two of the four main details given in the example.  The last part is new to me.  Generally, I push students to include all of the details.  Perhaps I should reassess my teaching methods.

There you go, teachers.  Some new information about the TOEFL… in 2022.

A few questions remain:

  • Is this always the case?  Will there always be four main details in the example?  Will we always need to include just two of them?  Probably not.  Surely there are cases where more than two details are required.
  • How does this work in lectures which have two totally unique examples?  Often the reading is about a biological feature in animals, while the lecture describes two different animals that have this feature.  Is it okay to ignore one of them?  Probably not.
  • Can any of this learning be applied to TOEFL Speaking question four?  Probably not.
  • Does order matter?  Probably not.