The TOEFL exam was created in 1975 by the Educational Testing Service to assist American and Canadian colleges and universities in the evaluation of the level of English language proficiency of international students they are considering for admission.
The test was originally designed for North American usage. However, it is finding greater acceptance as a means of fulfilling English language requirements outside the North American continent. It must be noted however that a good TOEFL score does not guarantee either acceptance/ admission into the candidate's university of choice or that the candidate is communicatively proficient. This is largely due to the fact that the Test of Spoken English (TSE) is usually optional on the part of the candidate; thus, there is little evidence of his or her ability to generate language in a spoken form.
Unlike Cambridge Examinations which are pass/ fail exams, TOEFL - like its British equivalent IELTS - has been designed to assess the candidate's current level of English proficiency, allowing them to determine whether they have the level of ability in English to be able to cope in an academic setting such as a university. Like IELTS, TOEFL could in theory be taken simply to determine a learner's level of English. As such, were a candidate to have a low level of English proficiency, then they would be expected to achieve only a low score (around 300). If, on the other hand, they had a high level of proficiency in English, then they would achieve a much higher score (600+).
Therefore, TOEFL is not a measure of success in itself but rather the candidate's ability to be successful at a given endeavor, e.g.: entering one or another American University. Thus, as English Language entrance requirements may differ among various universities, so too should the candidate's ability to succeed within that particular setting.
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