This week I was lucky enough to again have an opportunity to attend a workshop hosted by ETS for TOEFL teachers. Here is a quick summary of some of the questions that were asked by attendees of the workshop. Note that the answers are not direct quotes, unless indicated.
Q: Are scores adjusted statistically for difficulty each time the test is given?
A: Yes. This means that there is no direct conversion from raw to scaled scores in the reading and listening section. The conversion depends on the performance of all students that week.
Q: Do all the individual reading and listening questions have equal weight?
Q: When will new editions of the Official Guide and Official iBT Test books be published?
A: There is no timeline.
Q: Are accents from outside of North America now used when the question directions are given on the test?
Q: How are the scores from the human raters and the SpeechRater combined?
A: “Human scores and machines scores are optimally weighted to produce raw scores.” This means ETS isn’t really going to answer this question.
Q: Can the human rater override the SpeechRater if he disagrees with its score?
Q: How many different human raters will judge a single student’s speaking section?
A: Each question will be judged by a different human.
Q: Will students get a penalty for using the same templates as many other students?
A: Templates “are not a problem at all.”
Q: Why were the question-specific levels removed from the score reports?
A: That information was deemed unnecessary.
Q: Is there a “maximum” word count in the writing section?
Q: Is it always okay to pick more than one choice in multiple choice writing prompts?