TOEFL Essentials Test – the World’s New English-language Assessment

ETS announced today the introduction of a brand-new English-language proficiency assessment, the TOEFL Essentials™ test. The TOEFL Essentials test becomes the second high-stakes English-language proficiency test within the TOEFL Family of Assessments – joining alongside the TOEFL iBT test-launched more than 15 years ago.

In addition, TOEFL Essentials is the first English-language test that offers the ideal combination of the convenient, affordable access students want and the quality institutions trust. Registration will open to test takers on Thursday, June 17 for administrations beginning on Saturday, Aug. 21.

The TOEFL Essentials test is a versatile four-skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) English-language test designed for university admissions and other high-stakes decisions. It measures a combination of academic and general English skills – those that are needed for the classroom setting and beyond (e.g., internships and interviews). In addition, the test provides institutions with expanded insights through writing and speaking samples from the test, additional measures of foundational skills, and a unique Personal Video Statement – a short, unscored, video recording that provides an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique personalities.

Key facts to highlight about the test include:

  • Content: 50% academic, 50% general English
  • Format: multistage adaptive format with short, fast-paced tasks that adjust based on skill level
  • Length: about 1-1/2 hours long
  • Location: at home with best-in-class human proctored security provided by ProctorU, similar to the established TOEFL iBT Home Edition model
  • Features: instant Reading and Listening scores upon test completion, MyBest scores, and free, unlimited score reports
  • Price: 100 USD (approx. INR 7,300)
  • Scoring: Speaking and Writing sections scored by human raters to ensure accuracy and fairness

The TOEFL Essentials test and TOEFL iBT test are similar in that they are high-quality, valid, and reliable four-skills English-language tests for high-stakes decisions. They have distinct differences, however, in approach to skills measurement, design, and test-taking experience – and as such, can both be used as standalone measures of English-language proficiency by institutions within their portfolio of accepted tests.

“While the TOEFL iBT test has cemented its place as the gold standard in the international admissions space, we are expanding the portfolio with the innovative and versatile TOEFL Essentials test to allow students to choose a TOEFL test that best meets their testing style and preferences,” said Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program. “Both the TOEFL Essentials test and the TOEFL iBT Test can help students get to where they want to go, and we are thrilled to continue the TOEFL heritage of quality and fairness to help advance the educational journeys of students around the world.”

“With the resilience and determination of Indians, I am confident that India will get past the current challenging COVID situation soon, and Indian students will continue to pursue their overseas study aspirations and succeed in their global endeavors,” he added.

In the next few weeks, ETS will be publishing the TOEFL Essentials research design framework, details pertaining to the score scale, score comparison tables, and score requirement recommendations so that institutions can make informed decisions about acceptance and set score requirements based on their individualized needs. In a recent survey of nearly 250 institutions around the world, 95% indicated they would be likely to accept the TOEFL Essentials test, and 90% consider the test to be beneficial in attracting new applicants to their program.

To date, several universities have already indicated their acceptance. 

“The past year drove our institution to consider convenient options for English-language testing but concerns over validity and reliability made us cautious,” said Bryan Boudreau, Coordinator for International Student Engagement, Office of Admission, Bob Jones University (South Carolina, USA). “We have come to trust the TOEFL brand with many decades of proven student success. We were delighted to see this new option that combines convenience with reliability. Our academic faculty were highly enthusiastic and agreed TOEFL Essentials will provide what they need to support student success.”

According to Raffi Muroy, Director of International Admission at Suffolk University (Massachusetts, USA), “We at Suffolk value access and opportunity – it’s part of our core mission and our goal statement – so anything that is able to provide access and opportunity for applicants to be able to pursue higher education is something that we admire tremendously. We trust TOEFL and ETS and believe this is an excellent move by them to provide students with valuable options.”

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