Taking TOEFL to the next level
ETS托福考试全球品牌总监 Tang Xiaofei, TOEFL's brand director of Educational Testing Service (ETS), talks about her aspirations for both the TOEFL test and English learning.
1. In this position, what are your major duties and responsibilities?
Tang: My role as the TOEFL's brand director is to ensure that all students around the world are aware of the TOEFL test. For example, ETS has recently launched the “TOEFL Passport” outreach campaign to help students around the world realize the TOEFL test is widely accepted at more than 7,500 institutions in more than 130 countries including the UK, Canada and the US.
I like to have students think about the TOEFL test not only as an assessment, but also as a tool to help them achieve their educational aspirations. In China, we learned that getting access to the various test prep materials is critical for students.
In order to help Chinese students meet their goals, we developed the TOEFL Go Anywhere Website (www.toeflgoanywhere.org/cn) designed specifically for Chinese test takers. The website offers free sample test questions, study tips, and a calendar to help students plan effectively for the TOEFL test.
Another major focus of my role is to reach out and engage TOEFL test takers in ongoing dialogue to ensure we continue to meet their needs.
I have recently traveled from ETS’ headquarters in Princeton, NJ, US, to hear from TOEFL test takers. In speaking with test takers, I learned that students sometimes get anxious before taking a test such as the TOEFL test, and therefore we recently developed a 6-minute-long TOEFL Test Taker video to help students better understand and become more familiar with the testing process.
Finally, I am also responsible for communicating with the more than 7,500 colleges and universities around the world that accept the TOEFL test.
It is my duty to ensure that they are aware of the latest TOEFL research and program information to assist them with their admissions decisions.
2. To what extent is TOEFL accepted by Chinese candidates, and do their overall test results suggest any prominent characteristics?
Tang: In China, the number of TOEFL test takers is increasing steadily. From 2008 to 2009, there was a 30 percent increase in the number of Chinese test takers, and the number continues to increase.
We know that Chinese test takers typically plan ahead and ensure ample preparation time before the test. Knowing these characteristics of Chinese students, the TOEFL test provides various test prep materials, including sample test questions that can be accessed through the Official Guide to the TOEFL test, the TOEFL Go Anywhere Website, or TOEFL Practice Online.
Chinese students also like to learn best practices and study tips from friends that have taken the TOEFL test. That is the reason why the TOEFL Go Anywhere Website features study group videos sharing study tips for each section of the test.
3. Currently the dominant language tests for going abroad are TOEFL and IELTS. In addition, Pearson Education has developed PTE test. In such intense competition, what advantages, do you think, TOEFL has and challenges TOEFL is facing?
Tang: Competition in any industry ultimately benefits the end users of a product. In the English language learning field, the end users are students.
For more than forty-five years, the TOEFL test has helped millions of students around the world develop their English language proficiency.
The TOEFL test is accepted at more than 7,500 institutions around the world, including the Russell Group (UK), the Group of Eight (Australia), and the top US. institutions cited in the 2011 US News &World Report "Best Colleges" edition (US).
Because of the wide acceptance of the TOEFL test around the world, students only need to take one English language assessment. I remember when I was applying to schools abroad, the application process was incredibly time consuming, but only having to take one English language assessment, in the form of the TOEFL test, helped greatly.
In addition, the TOEFL test is a widely accessible English language assessment, with more than 4,500 testing sites for students to take the test in 165 countries.
To date, more than 25 million students have taken the TOEFL test and the number of test takers continues to rise.
4. As the first Chinese appointed as the TOEFL brand director of ETS, which goals have you set for TOEFL development in China?
Tang: In this role, I have three major priorities:
1) To ensure that no matter where in the world they want to study, Chinese students are aware that they can meet their goals through taking the TOEFL test. As I mentioned, we recently launched the TOEFL Passport campaign to demonstrate that the TOEFL test is accepted at more than 7,500 institutions in more than 130 countries including the UK, Canada and the US.
2) To develop specific outreach strategies that meet the needs of Chinese test takers. For example, we learned that Chinese students would like to receive their test scores sooner. To meet this need, we are pleased to now offer online test scores in two weeks, reducing the score turn around time by one week.
3) To encourage students to view the TOEFL test as more than just an assessment, but rather as a tool to help them achieve success. For example, we launched the ETS Scholarship Program for TOEFL test takers last year in China and are excited to share that we will once again offer the Chinese scholarship program in 2011. (More information regarding the 2011 ETS Scholarship Program will be announced later this month). In following ETS’s nonprofit mission, we are pleased to assist Chinese students to study at their university of choice.
5. How do you plan to have Chinese students benefit from the TOEFL test and to promote Chinese enthusiasm for English learning?
Tang: Chinese students should know that ETS takes their feedback seriously. We will continue to provide additional resources to help them master the English language and succeed on the TOEFL test. We look forward to hearing from Chinese students about how we can continue to meet their needs in new and exciting ways. To this end, we welcome an ongoing dialogue with them. Based on my observations, there are three trends in learning English that apply to Chinese students:
1) The age of students going abroad is becoming younger compared to the time when I applied for university study.
2) The destinations of students studying abroad are now more diverse. Along with the US, students also are choosing to study in the UK, Australia, Singapore, Japan and other countries.
3) There are more study abroad organizations available to assist students in meeting their study abroad goals.
Copyright www.i21st.cn All Rights Reserved 版权所有 复制必究 京ICP备05039576号 京公网安备11010502010736号