TOEFL ITP in Action: Rutgers University
The TOEFL ITP® Assessment Series helped Rutgers University’s Program in American Language Studies earn a reputation as objective, systematic, data-driven, and research-based.
When Rutgers University’s Program in American Language Studies (PALS) changed directorship four years ago, Assistant Director Peter Chang saw an opportunity to enhance the program’s objectivity and increase student confidence in its assessments of their English ability. Rather than update the program’s 1983 in-house admissions instrument, he told the new director that PALS should become a consumer of research and adopt the TOEFL ITP® Assessment Series.
“Developing something in-house requires extensive research to be valid,” Chang noted. “Why not go with an exam that already has research — that has made these connections for us in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)?”
He also stressed to his colleague that the TOEFL ITP test’s objective, high-quality descriptions of proficiency levels would be invaluable for students and teaching — especially when used in concert with those of the TOEFL iBT® test, which is the learning target most PALS students work toward. “Those were the merits I saw in using the TOEFL ITP test,” Chang said.
“… the TOEFL ITP test made our program more systematic, more data-driven…”
Looking back, Chang said PALS has benefitted from the change in exactly the ways he imagined. “On the student end, it became very easy to talk about their proficiency or their levels using the TOEFL ITP test,” he said.
TOEFL ITP Assessment Series certificates matter to students
As someone whose own path to higher education mirrors that of his students, Chang understands why TOEFL ITP scores and certificates mean so much to them. “I, too, come from a country that doesn’t speak English as its primary language. I was not educated primarily in English,” he said. “My students who go overseas understand that they can take this TOEFL ITP score, and it means something somewhere else, especially when it’s from ETS. Coming from overseas, I understand the climate there and the employment requirements. The certificate is something employers look for. I’m very certain that when they go into the market, they will find that certificate very useful.”