- script -
TOEIC (The Test of English for International Communication) started in 1979. Twenty years later, more than 1.5 million people were taking the test annually. TOEIC was developed by the American Testing Service (ETS) at the request of the Japanese government. Ninety-two percent of the test-takers are from Japan and Korea. The unique feature of TOEIC is its contents. The test focuses on English used in business contexts. It contains two sections: listening comprehension (45 minutes) and reading (75 minutes). Nevertheless, ETS says that the results can indirectly measure speaking and writing skills. Recent research does not support the ETS claim. Studies have shown that high scoring test-takers often do have good speaking and writing skills. But TOEIC scores for intermediate learners (TOEIC 450-650) often do not mean that those people have equal speaking and writing abilities. This is troubling news for Japanese test-takers. The average TOEIC score for Japanese is 450. And the majority of Japanese score in the range of 400-600 points. When international companies become aware of these new findings, they might decide to require additional speaking and writing tests for job-hunters.