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TOEFL Primary® tests

The TOEFL Primary® tests are assessments from ETS that help you shape young students’ English-language instruction in a way you never could before. Based on the rich heritage of the TOEFL® test and best practices in English-language testing, the TOEFL Primary tests are designed for students ages 8+ and measure the English communication skills that provide a foundation for students’ future success.

You can use the TOEFL Primary tests to guide your teaching goals, monitor student progress, identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, and more.

Scores are mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and TOEFL Primary reading scores are matched to MetaMetrics® Lexile® measures.

Discover how the TOEFL Primary tests can help you.

Introduction

Know Your Students Are Learning at Every Level The TOEFL Primary programme offers three different tests for students ages 8+ to measure a range of skills — from students at the beginning stages of learning English to those who have acquired more communicative English skills.

Put Your Students on the Right Path, Right From the Start

The TOEFL® Primary tests are the newest addition to the TOEFL® Family of Assessments and the first step on a student’s path to reaching his or her full potential.

The goal of the TOEFL Primary tests is to measure students’ English-language communication skills and progress in English classes — and provide meaningful feedback about their abilities.

Each test provides reliable administration and scoring, with meaningful and detailed feedback to help young learners progress.

Based on the rich heritage of the TOEFL test, the TOEFL Primary tests uphold ETS’s high standards for developing valid and reliable tests that support educational purposes and reflect the latest research innovations.

TOEFL Primary tests are designed to:
  • Assess the general English-language proficiency of young students ages 8+
  • Provide a snapshot of each student’s ability in reading, listening and speaking
  • Support teaching and learning by giving information about students’ abilities in relation to a widely accepted international standard

The goal of the TOEFL Primary tests is to measure students’ English communication skills and progress in English classes — and provide meaningful feedback about their abilities. Based on the rich heritage of the TOEFL® test, the TOEFL Primary tests uphold ETS’s high standards for developing valid and reliable tests that support educational purposes and reflect the latest research innovations.

A Versatile Solution for English Programmes

The TOEFL Primary tests can be used to monitor student progress over time and, if appropriate, to place students in levels of English instruction.

They are designed for:

  • English-language programmes
  • Local schools that teach English as part of the curriculum
Discover the Ways the TOEFL Primary Tests Can Help You

The TOEFL® Primary™ tests are assessments from ETS that help you shape young learners’ (ages 8+) English-language instruction. Rooted in research and best practices in English-language testing, the TOEFL Primary tests measure the English skills that provide a foundation for students’ future success.

Guide your teaching goals

Monitor student progress

Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses

Determine instructional plans

Inform placement decisions, if appropriate

Focus your work with both individual students and groups

Shape your communication with parents about student learning

Research-based Tests Provide Information You Can Trust

Each year, ETS and the TOEFL® program support a number of research studies to ensure the validity and reliability of the TOEFL Family of Assessments. The link below includes a summary of research studies on the TOEFL Primary tests that will soon be publicly available. Additional research projects are in progress to support the quality of the TOEFL Primary tests.

Learn more about the research on the TOEFL Primary Tests (PDF).

Interested in using the TOEFL Primary tests in your program?

TOEFL Primary tests assess students’ knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfil core communication goals in English. The TOEFL Primary Reading and Listening tests are offered at two levels of proficiency, Step 1 and Step 2, so that you can select an assessment that more closely matches the level of skills your students have acquired. The TOEFL Primary Speaking test is designed for students at many different levels of English ability.

TOEFL Primary Tests at a Glance

No single school, textbook, or method of study is best to help prepare a person for the test, since it is not based on a specific course of instruction. Strong language proficiency can be achieved only after a relatively long period of study and practice. An attempt to study English for the first time shortly before taking the test will not be helpful.

The TOEFL Junior Standard test is not a “pass/fail” test. You are not expected to answer all of the questions correctly. The test is designed to be a tool that measures improvement over time.

Students taking a regular English curriculum should show gains in their scores if they take a form of the TOEFL Junior Standard test every 6 months or so.
Before taking the TOEFL Junior Standard test, there are several things you can do to prepare for the test and improve your English proficiency:
• Become familiar with the test format and how to mark your answers on the answer sheet. You can then focus your attention on the questions themselves, rather than on the format.
• Review carefully the test directions, the answer sheet including the background questions (in sections 6–12 of the answer sheet), and the sample questions on pages 11–22.
• Immerse yourself in the language as frequently as possible and in as many ways as possible. Reading, watching TV and videos, listening to recordings, taking an English course, and speaking to others in English are some of the ways to practice.
• Visit the TOEFL Junior website for additional resources that you may find helpful to familiarize yourself with the test.

Reading and Listening Step 1

Intended for students in the earlier stages of learning

Tests understanding of:

  • Familiar context (school, home, playground)
  • Basic formulaic expressions
  • Basic vocabulary and phrases related to common objects and people
  • Short and simple requests and directions
  • Short and simple text about everyday experiences

Reading and Listening Step 2

Intended for students who have developed some communicative skills

Tests understanding of:

  • Basic expressions, requests, phrases and directions
  • Simple and short stories and conversations on topics beyond everyday experiences
  • Unfamiliar words presented with contextual clues
  • Simple content-based texts

Speaking

The TOEFL Primary Speaking test measures the English skills that provide a foundation for students’ future success.

The TOEFL Primary Speaking test is an assessment from ETS that is designed to measure young learners’ speaking proficiency (ages 8+) and is designed for students at multiple levels of English ability. The test can be combined with the TOEFL Primary Step 1 test or TOEFL Primary Step 2 test or can be taken on its own. It’s delivered digitally and is available for Windows® PC, Mac®, iPad® and ChromebookTM.

Intended for students in all stages of learning

Tests understanding of:

  • Ability to communicate orally in social situations related to daily life
  • Expressing basic emotions and feelings
  • Simple requests and giving directions
  • Describing people, objects, animals, places and activities
  • Explaining simple events

OR

Speaking can be combined with Step 1 or Step 2, or it can be taken on its own.

Reading and Listening Test Overview

The TOEFL Primary reading and listening tests measure young learners’ abilities to understand written and spoken English that they are learning in their classrooms and that is relevant to their daily lives. Test tasks require students to read or listen to information, instructions, or stories that reflect their experiences at school, home, and other age‐appropriate contexts. Test tasks are designed to assess abilities for fulfilling particular communication goals central to young students’ English‐language proficiency development.

The communication goals assessed in Reading are:

  • identifying people, objects, and actions
  • understanding commonly occurring non-linear written texts (examples: signs, schedules)
  • understanding written directions and procedures
  • understanding short personal correspondence (examples: letters, emails)
  • understanding simple, written stories
  • understanding written informational texts about age-appropriate content-area topics

The communication goals assessed in Listening are:

  • understanding simple descriptions of familiar people and objects
  • understanding spoken directions and procedures (example: teacher directions in a classroom)
  • understanding conversations
  • understanding spoken stories
  • understanding short informational texts related to daily life (example: a voicemail message)
  • understanding expository monologues about age‐appropriate content‐area topics

The reading and listening tests are paper‐and‐pencil tests. Test tasks are presented to students in one test book, which is divided into a Reading section and a Listening section. The tasks are multiple‐choice, and students mark their answers on a separate answer sheet.

Reading and Listening Tests: Step 1 and Step 2

TOEFL Primary reading and listening tests assess students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities for fulfilling core communication goals in English. Young learners are acquiring their English abilities at different times and in different ways depending on school curriculum and other factors. The TOEFL Primary reading and listening tests are offered at two levels, Step 1 and Step 2, so that you may select an assessment that more closely matches what your students have learned and the level of English‐language proficiency your students have acquired.

Step 1

The TOEFL Primary Step 1 test assesses knowledge of and ability to understand common words, common expressions, phrases, and simple sentences in English. It includes everyday vocabulary and phrases related to common objects and people. It tests the ability to listen to and understand short messages, instructions, and conversations about everyday events at home and in school. It measures the understanding of short, simple texts such as schedules or phone messages.

The Reading section has 39 questions, including example questions. Students are given 30 minutes to complete this section. The Listening section has 41 questions, including example questions, and is paced by an audio recording of about 30 minutes.

Step 2

The TOEFL Primary Step 2 test measures the same skills as the Step Step 1 test and also measures the ability to understand simple stories and conversations on topics beyond test takers’ personal, everyday experiences. It assesses the ability to understand simple explanations of age‐appropriate science, history, geography, people, and other content‐related subjects. Students also read and listen to texts that contain a few unfamiliar words.

The Reading section has 37 questions, including example questions. Students are given 30 minutes to complete this section. The Listening section has 39 questions, including example questions, and is paced by an audio recording of about 30 minutes.

Summarize
TESTTOEFL Primary Step 1TOEFL Primary Step 2TOEFL Primary Speaking
FormatPaperPaperComputer
Number of QuestionsReading: 36 Listening:36Reading: 36 Listening:367-10 mins
TimeReading: 30 Listening: 30Reading: 30 Listening: 3020 mins
Score Levels1-4 Stars1-5 Badges1-5 Ribbons

Interested in using the TOEFL Primary tests in your program?

Score Reports

Each TOEFL Junior Standard score report provides:
• An overall score level accompanied by an overall performance descriptor
• A total score calculated from the Listening Comprehension, Language Form and Meaning, and Reading Comprehension section scores
• A description of the English-language abilities typical of test takers scoring within a particular scaled score range to help identify strengths and areas for improvement (See Appendix pages 41– 42 for all Performance Descriptors)
• Section test scores which are mapped to levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
• A Lexile® measure to help you find books at your English reading level

Interpreting Scores

TOEFL Junior Standard test scores are determined by the number of questions a student has answered correctly. Some of the questions in the test may not count toward the section or total scores. Of the questions that count, each correct answer counts equally toward the score for that section. The number of correct responses on each section is converted to a scaled score that ranges from 200 to 300 in increments of 5. The total scaled score is a sum of the three section scores, and, therefore, ranges from 600–900 points in increments of 5.

Scores from the three different sections should not be directly compared to each other because the measures are scaled independently.

Test SectionScore Range
Listening Comprehension200-300
Language Form & Meaning200-300
Reading Comprehension200-300
Total Score600-900
Acceptable Scores

Each institution determines for itself what scores, or ranges of scores, are acceptable. There is no specific passing or failing score set by ETS for the TOEFL Junior tests.

How Your Test is Scored

TOEFL Junior Standard test scores include three section scores and a total score. Some of the questions in the test may not count toward the section or total scores. Of the questions that count, each correct answer counts equally toward the score for that section.

The total number of correct answers for each section is statistically adjusted, or equated, to account for differences in difficulty between test forms. These equated scores are then converted to section scaled scores that range from 200 to 300. The total scaled score is the sum of scaled scores for each section and ranges from 600 to 900. Because the scores are equated and scaled, the reported scores are neither the number, nor the percentages of questions answered correctly.

Overall Score Levels

The table below shows the TOEFL Junior Standard overall score levels, total scores, overall performance descriptors, and CEFR profiles. Overall Performance Descriptors are modified to reflect middle-school age student ability required in institutions where English is the medium of instruction and used to determine the student’s proficiency level according to the CEFR level.

Common European Framework of Reference

Your section scores will be mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to help you understand what your scores mean. The TOEFL Junior scores give you as a student the ability to see your level
on a global scale.

SectionsCEFR Below A2CEFR Level A2CEFR Level B1CEFR Level B2
Listening ComprehensionUnder 225225–245250–285290–300
Language Form and MeaningUnder 210210–245250–275280–300
Reading ComprehensionUnder 210210–240245–275280–300
Lexile® Measure

English reading ability is a rewarding skill, but it takes practice to improve. The TOEFL Junior Standard test provides a Lexile measure with your score report to help you, your parents and your teachers find the right books for you. Lexile measures are the standard for matching readers with appropriate texts. Millions of English language learners and teachers worldwide use Lexile measures to improve reading in English and track progress over time. With Lexile measures, readers at every age and proficiency level can find the right books to read and improve. The service is free and easy to use. For more information, visit www.lexile.com/toefljunior.

Score Reports

Score reports and certificates of achievement are positive and motivational for students. Detailed and comprehensive, score reports highlight what students have accomplished as English language learners and where they are ready to improve. Fast score turnaround time helps you in planning instruction.

Score reports include a variety of information:

  • Levels that indicate proficiency
  • Proficiency descriptors with meaningful information for each section, including recommendations on next steps that students can take to improve their English-language abilities
  • Scale scores that show progress within levels
Score Reports: A Meaningful and Detailed

Way to Show Progress:

Score reports and certificates of achievement are meant to be positive and motivational for students. Detailed and comprehensive, they highlight what students have accomplished as English-language learners and the next steps to improve their reading, listening and speaking abilities.

Score reports provide:

  • Fast score turnaround
  • Descriptors with meaningful information for each section, including recommendations on next steps that students can take to improve their English-language abilities
  • Students’ abilities in relation to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a widely accepted international standard
  • Lexile® Reading Measures, making it easier to find books and articles that best match students’ English reading abilities
Recommended Score Validity — 1 Year

Due to rapid development of English proficiency by younger learners, ETS recommends that scores not be used beyond 1 year. Scores can be considered valid beyond 1 year if the student has provided evidence of having maintained the same level of English language learning.

A Global Picture of Potential

Your students are going to make an impact on the world someday. Now you can give them the best start by using a global standard to support teaching and learning.

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is a standard used by educators worldwide to measure students’ language proficiencies. TOEFL Primary® scores are mapped to CEFR levels, so you will know about your students’ abilities in relation to a widely accepted international standard.

To help students develop a relationship with reading English early on, TOEFL Primary reading scores are linked to MetaMetrics® Lexile® reading measures — making it easier to find the books and articles that best match their English reading abilities.

Learn more about how TOEFL Primary scores are linked to

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/cefr_and_lexile.pdf

https://www.ets.org/s/toefl_primary/pdf/understand_reading_listening_score_reports.pdf

https://www.ets.org/s/toefl_primary/pdf/understand_speaking_score_reports.pdf

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/reading_listening_step_1/

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/reading_listening_step_2/

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/speaking/

Scoring and Reporting for the TOEFL Primary® Reading and Listening Test — Step 1
Scoring

The TOEFL Primary® Reading and Listening Test — Step 2 is scored locally by ETS Preferred Network offices and features fast turnaround times.

Reading and Listening Test — Step 2 scores are determined by the number of questions a student has answered correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers. The number of correct responses in each section is converted to a level of 1–5 Badges and a scale score of 104–115. Step 2 does not assess content in the scale range of 101–103. Some students may receive 1 Badge and a scale score of 100. It is recommended that these students take the Step 1 test for better information about their proficiencies in English reading and listening.

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/reading_listening_step_2/level_descriptors/  and recommended next steps for learning are provided for each level. The descriptors and next steps are appropriate for typical students at that level but may not apply to all students. Student ability for each level includes the skills from lower levels.

For more information, download https://www.ets.org/s/toefl_primary/pdf/understand_reading_listening_score_reports.pdf . This document includes tables outlining proficiency descriptors, Badge score levels, scale scores, Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels and corresponding MetaMetric® Lexile® measures.

Score Reports

Each Step 1 score report provides:

  • Information about the student’s current level of English proficiency
  • Recommendations about next steps that the student should take to improve English-language abilities
  • The CEFR level — each student’s language proficiency in relation to a widely accepted international standard
  • Lexile reading measures to help students, teachers and parents select the material appropriate for a particular student’s English reading ability.
See also:
Scoring and Reporting for the TOEFL Primary® Reading and Listening Test — Step 2
Scoring

The TOEFL Primary® Reading and Listening Test — Step 2 is scored locally by ETS Preferred Network offices and features fast turnaround times.

Reading and Listening Test — Step 2 scores are determined by the number of questions a student has answered correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers. The number of correct responses in each section is converted to a level of 1–5 Badges and a scale score of 104–115. Step 2 does not assess content in the scale range of 101–103. Some students may receive 1 Badge and a scale score of 100. It is recommended that these students take the Step 1 test for better information about their proficiencies in English reading and listening.

https://www.ets.org/toefl_primary/scoring_reporting/reading_listening_step_2/level_descriptors/  and recommended next steps for learning are provided for each level. The descriptors and next steps are appropriate for typical students at that level but may not apply to all students. Student ability for each level includes the skills from lower levels.

For more information, download https://www.ets.org/s/toefl_primary/pdf/understand_reading_listening_score_reports.pdf . This document includes tables outlining proficiency descriptors, Badge score levels, scale scores, Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels and corresponding MetaMetric® Lexile® measures.

Score Reports

Each Step 2 score report provides:

  • Information about the student’s current level of English proficiency
  • Recommendations about next steps that the student should take to improve English-language abilities
  • CEFR level — each student’s language proficiency in relation to a widely accepted international standard
  • Lexile® reading measures to help students, teachers and parents select the material appropriate for a particular student’s English-reading ability.
See also:

If you would like to order the tests or learn more, please email Goal Testing at info@goaltesting.com