Understand The TOEFL Scores

How Do Institutions Use TOEFL Results?

TOEFL is a standardized test that measures the competence of an individual in the English language. It is an internationally recognized test that is undertaken worldwide. This is a language test and the results do not determine the pass or fail status for any candidate but they simply denote the competence of the individual in the English language for academic purposes. They are mere reflections of the scores of a candidate in light of the answers that he/she gives in the test.





TOEFL test results have two aspects:

  1. Scores for every section and
  2. The total scores

TOEFL Test Results for Every Section

There are four sections in the test namely; Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The score calculations for these sections are done on a scale that ranges from 0-30. The actual correct answers from every section are scored and each total is measured on this scale. The Reading and Listening sections are scored differently from the Writing and the Speaking sections of the test which is why, the results contain separate section-wise scores. The official website for the test is as follows: www.ets.org  and it clearly explains the details of the sectional scoring process used to evaluate this test.

Calculation of Scores of the Reading and Listening Sections of the TOEFL

  • Scores for the Reading and Listening sections are derived through computerized calculations.
  • A score in the range 22-30 is a High score.
  • A score in the range of 15-21 is an Intermediate score.
  • A score in the range of 0-14 is a Low score.

Calculation of Scores for the Writing and Speaking Sections of the TOEFL

  • Scores for the Writing and Speaking sections are measured automatically through computers and also by ETS raters.
  • ETS raters are specially trained and hired by the administrators i.e. the ETS to score the test.
  • Human judgment is very important for scoring the Writing and Speaking abilities of candidates because only human beings can measure softer aspects like quality of the content, flow of thought, ideas etc.
  • The dual-scoring process also eliminates any room for miscalculations and errors of judgment in the scores.
  • The Writing as well as the Speaking section uses different expressions for their scores.

Test Results of the Writing Section

  • Each writing task is scored in a range of 0-5.
  • The total scores of each task are then averaged on the scale of 0-30.
  • A score in the range of 24-30 is a Good score.
  • A score in the range of 17-23 is a Fair score.
  • A score in the range of 1-16 is a Limited score.
  • For a detailed understanding of the scores of the Writing section, visit the link: http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/Writing_Rubrics.pdf.

The Test Results of the Speaking Section

  • Each speaking task is scored in a range of 0-4.
  • The total scores of each task are then averaged on the scale of 0-30.
  • A score in the range of 26-30 is a Good score.
  • A score in the range of 18-25 is a Fair score.
  • A score in the range of 10-17 is a Limited score.
  • A score in the range of 0-9 is a Weak score.
  • For a detailed understanding of the scores of the Speaking section, visit the link: http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/Speaking_Rubrics.pdf

The Total TOEFL Test Scores

The total test scores are derived from the section-wise scores of the test. The sectional scores are measured on a scale of 0-30. The total score is arrived at by adding the scaled scores of each of the four sections of the test and then expressing them on the scale of 0-120. When the results are declared, then the candidate is given the section-wise calculation of the scores along with the total scores.

How Do Institutions Use TOEFL Results?

  • The scores determine the competence of the candidates in academic English. Due to this factor, many educational institutions consider TOEFL scores for admissions. More than 4000 educational institutions across the world use this test as the admissions criteria for their English courses.
  • Government institutions also use these scores to determine the eligibility of candidates for the issuance of certificates, visas, job letters etc.
  • Business institutions use these results to ascertain the eligibility of candidates who have applied for jobs with them.
  • Institutions also use these scores to compare the various candidates who have applied to them. The applications may pertain to jobs, admissions, or any other form of consideration.
  • The scores are valid for two years and many institutions are very strict about considering only the recent TOEFL scores and therefore, make candidates reappear for the test if their scores are not recent enough.

Though there is no limit to the number of times one can take the test, institutions do consider the age of the candidates when they are considering them for admissions. Candidates should not take this fact for granted and should therefore; understand the requirements and importance of the test before taking it.