Buried in an article in the “Learning English” section of Voice of America is some news about which schools will accept the new TOEFL Essentials Test:

Some schools like Temple University Law School, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the University of San Francisco have told ETS they will accept results from the new test. And ETS said it will publish a list of universities that intend to accept the Essentials test after the first phase of testing.

That’s nice.  In the near future I will start a blog post that lists schools which will accept the test.

The TOEFL Essentials page for test takers has launched.   It contains a ton of good information, but the most important is obviously the collection of three sample TOEFL Essentials Tests.  Check them out.  Obviously you will also want to check out the list of TOEFL Essentials Content.

For my take on this content, you should watch my video about the question types.

Here are a few random details about TOEFL Essentials that have trickled out via the regular webinars hosted by ETS.  Yes, I watch every single one of them:

  • The reading, listening and writing sections of the test will be adaptive.  The speaking section will not.
  • At launch, the e-rater and SpeechRater automated scoring technology will NOT be used.  Only human graders will be used.  Automated scoring will be introduced later.
  • Scoring rubrics will be published in June.
  • The default voice (that gives instructions) will have a mild British English accent.
  • Right now the “foundational skills” will consist of vocabulary knowledge and sentence construction.  Additional skills will be added later.
  • The score recipients will have access to two writing and two speaking samples.  Plus the unscored video interview from the end of the test.
  • At launch, the test will be available one day per week.  It will be expanded up to three days per week, depending on demand.
  • The TOEFL ITP will continued to be administered. 
  • Some of the documentation that was to be delivered in May has been delayed to June.

If you were hoping to get some details about the new test this week, you can keep waiting.

The site used to say: “after the score requirements guidance and score concordance tools are released in early May.” Now it says: “after the score requirements guidance and score concordance tools are released in early June.”

Likewise, score requirements were “expected to be available in May 2021.” But now they are “expected to be available in June 2021.”

The “assessment framework document” is still promised for May, though.

See also: https://www.ets.org/s/toefl-essentials/score-users/scores-admissions/


Hey, if you are interested in learning a bit more about the simulated conversation that will be on the new TOEFL Essentials Test, check out this page. There is a video.  The video was added within the last week or two.

It hasn’t been confirmed, but I suspect that’s the tech being used on the test.  A few more notes following the screenshots.

There is an article describing the tech over here.  It includes a schematic illustration of the possible flow of a conversation simulating a job interview. Another article discusses how ETS has been developing avatars to make the conversations a bit more vivid.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the TOEFL Essentials Test page now says:

“Registration is expected to open in June 2021, with the first tests to be administered by August 2021.”

It used to say:

“Registration is expected to open in May 2021, with the first tests to be administered by August 2021.”

As has already been indicated, the test will be available one day per week initially, and will ramp up to three days per week shortly thereafter. 

Well, ETS released a few more details about the TOEFL Essentials Test to score users (universities, mostly).  They are:

  • Section scores will be from 1 to 12 points.  The overall score will also be reported on a 1 to 12 scale.  It will be the average of the section scores.
  • The vocabulary and sentence construction stuff will be reported separately from the overall score.  Those will be called “foundational skills” and will be reported as a percentile rank.
  • The test will cost $100 to $120, depending on the country (yes, there will be a different price for each country)
  • Available in China?  Unclear.
  • Official Test prep will be available in May 2021.  It will all be online.  No book will be printed.
  • When the test launches in August it will be available one day per week.  But it will ramp up and later be available three days per week.
  • Students will get scores after six days.  Institutions will get scores at the same time.
  • The test will be only be taken online.  It will not be offered at test centers.

There is now an ETS page about the new TOEFL Essentials test.

As I  mentioned yesterday, this is a new test that ETS will offer beginning in August.  The details we learned then were:

  • It will take 90 minutes to complete
  • It will cost about half of what the TOEFL iBT costs
  • It will cover academic as well as “conversational” English
  • It has “more tasks, but they are shorter”

We can now confirm:

  • It is adaptive (the questions change depending on the ability level of the test-taker)
  • It includes “Vocabulary Knowledge and Sentence Construction” (this sounds a bit like the TOEFL ITP)
  • It includes an unscored video statement at the end (like the Duolingo English Test)
  • The questions are written by humans, not auto-generated by software
  • It is scored by both humans and automatic raters (like the TOEFL iBT)
  • Unlimited score reports can be sent for free (yay!)
  • It includes MyBest Scores and instant reading and listening scores (like the TOEFL iBT)
  • Section scores will be from 1 to 12 points
  • It will be taken online, not at a test center
  • Registration starts in May (for tests in August)
  • Test Prep materials are forthcoming