The Educational Testing Service, commonly known as ETS, is the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. It is a nonprofit organization committed to educational research and assessment. This organization is committed to advancing quality and equity in education for learners worldwide. The ETS ensures that it produces only fair, valid, and reliable standardized tests. The tests they have developed are the GRE, TOEFL, HiSET, PRAXIS, and TOEIC. These were made by an intuitive group of researchers, educational policy specialists, statisticians, and test developers.
GRE® , HiSET® , PRAXIS® , TOEFL® , and TOEIC® are the tests developed and administered by ETS.
The individualized exams developed by ETS are listed below:
- GRE® General Test
- GRE® Subject Tests
The HiSET® Exam
- Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests
- Praxis® Subject Assessments
- Praxis® Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) Tests
- TOEFL iBT®
- TOEFL® Essentials™
- TOEFL Primary®
- TOEFL Junior®
- TOEFL ITP®
- TOEIC® Listening and Reading Test
- TOEIC® Writing and Speaking Test
- TOEIC Bridge® Tests
The tests offered by ETS are listed above. These tests differ in content, structure, test dates, location, and registration process. Be sure to check the details of each one to get the right test for your needs.
Assessment of the suitability of applicants and admission to graduate and professional schools is the main purpose of the GRE. It measures verbal reasoning skills, quantitative reasoning skills, analytical writing skills, and critical thinking skills.
To certify an applicant’s academic knowledge and skills as being equivalent to those of an average high school graduate is the main purpose of the HiSET Exam. It is an opportunity for people to earn a high school equivalency credential. It is also an opportunity for adults to see their readiness for college and future careers. It measures proficiency level in the language arts (reading and writing), mathematics, science, and social studies.
To help prepare teachers to become certified and qualified educators is the main purpose of the Praxis tests. It measures the knowledge and skills an examinee needs to prepare for classroom teaching.
Evaluating the English proficiency of non-native English speakers is the primary purpose of the TOEFL tests. It guides these people to learn the language and helps them achieve their academic goals at the university level. The exam is usually taken by international students.
To determine who capable of communicating effectively using the English language across different kinds of people is the main purpose of the TOEIC tests. It is considered the global standard used to assess English-language proficiency in the workplace, so it tests communication across workers and clients.
The GRE test assesses a test taker’s readiness for graduate-level coursework, whereas the TOEFL and TOEIC test English language skills.
Read More: GRE vs. TOEFL
Assessment of test taker’s knowledge and skills as part of the teacher licensure and certification process is the goal of the Praxis Test. On the other hand, GRE test is used to evaluate an applicant’s competency for graduate-level study in a variety of subject areas.
Read More: GRE vs. Praxis
The HiSET exam is designed to authenticate a candidate’s attainment of academic knowledge and skills similar to those of a high school graduate. This test issues a high school equivalency credential to those who failed to study in secondary school. Meanwhile, the GRE is taken by students prior to enrolling in graduate school.
Read More: GRE vs. HiSET
Test specialists, test reviewers, editors, teachers, and specialists in the subject or skill being tested are the professionals involved in developing ETS test items. Each question is reviewed multiple times by multiple professionals to obtain a high-quality item.
Before ETS can develop a test, it goes through a complex process first. There are seven steps followed in developing tests and test questions. These are the following steps necessary in the testing industry to meet the highest standards for quality and fairness.
- Identifying Objectives. Before anything else, ETS appoints dozens of professionals, including educators, professional associations, and licensing boards, identifying a need to develop a test. Once agreed, a test will be developed after answering the following questions:
- Who will take the test and for what purpose?
- What skills and/or areas of knowledge should be tested?
- How should test takers be able to use their knowledge?
- What kinds of questions should be included? How many of each kind?
- How long should the test be?
- How difficult should the test be?
- Item Development Committees
After answering the questions, it is time to appoint item development committees. Their responsibilities include defining the objective and specifications of the test, making sure that the test items are unbiased, and deciding on the test format. The test format may be multiple-choice, constructed-response, computer-delivered, paper-based, essay, etc. Other responsibilities include examining supplemental test materials, reviewing test items written by ETS staff, and writing the test items.
- Writing and Reviewing Questions. Two of the responsibilities of the item development committees are to write and review test questions. These test questions are reviewed and revised multiple times to make sure that there are no test errors. Possible errors include the questions not being concise, having more than one possible answer in the choices, and not conforming to the test format. In this step, the making of a scoring guide is also done. Scoring guides are used for subjective questions like essays, short written answers, and oral responses. This is to ensure that the scores will be accurate across test takers.
- The Pretest. Now, it is time for the pilot testing. It is the process when the test questions are administered to a sample group. Take note that the sample group must meet the characteristics of the population for whom the test is intended. Sample characteristics are age, socioeconomic status, a field of study, interests, career, etc. This step enables test developers to determine the difficulty of test questions and identify ambiguity. Then, more revisions will be made based on the obtained results. There may be questions and choices that need to be revised or eliminated.
- Detecting and removing unfair questions. Standardized tests must be fair. In this step, tests must meet guidelines set by trained reviewers. Here, it must be proven that the test, test items, and others are not inappropriate. There shouldn’t be language, content, symbols, phrases, or words that are sexist, racist, or offensive. It is done through a thorough review as well as through statistics. This is a very important step for ETS because it is devoted to producing tests that would advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide.
- Assembling the Test. Following the test’s assembly, it is reviewed by other specialists, committee members, and, in some cases, outside experts. Each reviewer independently answers all questions and gives a list of correct responses to the test developers. The lists are compared to the ETS answer keys to ensure that the desired answer is the correct answer. Before the exam is published, any discrepancies are rectified.
- Making certain that the test questions function properly even after the test has been administered. The test development does not end after the assembly. The statisticians and test developers ensure that the tests are working as predetermined. Every question undergoes preliminary statistical analysis. If a problem is discovered, corrective action is taken before final scoring and score reporting.
ETS goes through all of these steps in developing a test to ensure a fair, valid, and reliable test. Time, hard work, and rigorous reviews – these are all devoted by assessment specialists developing these standardized tests.
Yes, ETS develops practice tests, too. In fact, there are some which are downloadable for free, while others may be bought for a very affordable price.
No, ETS did not develop the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Operation only, not ownership, was turned over to the organization by the College Board.