So what are we listening for?
A comparison of the English listening constructs
in the Japanese National Centre Test and TOEFL® iBT

Appendix K: Comparative rubrics of the English listening sections of the 2005 TOEFL® iBT and the 2006 J-NCT

2005 TOEFL® iBT 2006 J-NCT
Test Purpose: Proficiency test Achievement test
Testing instruments required: Computer, Internet connection, headphones, microphone, note paper (for note taking) Paper-based test (paper and pencil) requiring ear phones and individual IC players which are individually controlled only in terms of volume
Accents used: North American Standard American English
Script format:
  • Script played once
  • Questions and choices appear on screen
  • In some questions, a portion of the conversation or lecture is replayed
  • Script played twice
  • Questions and choices appear in test book
Test takers answer each question at their own pace Test takers answer each question at fixed intervals
Test characteristics:
  • Traditional multiple-choice questions with three distracters and a single correct answer
  • Multiple-choice questions with more than one answer
  • Some questions require test takers to order events or steps in a process
  • Some questions require test takers to match objects or text to categories in a chart
  • One question about speaker's attitude, degree of certainty or purpose based on vocal tones and other cues
  • Multiple-choice questions with three distracters and a single correct answer
  • Some choices are illustrations
Independent tasks permitted: Note taking is allowed Note taking is allowed
Length: 60-90 min. long
(depending on test takers' speed and proficiency)
30 min. long
(set, no flexibility)
Task Length:
  • Lectures: 3-5 minutes long each, 500-800 words
  • Conversations: 3 minutes long each, 12-25 exchanges
  • Conversations: 10-40 seconds long each, 2-10 exchanges
  • Announcements: 20-30 seconds long each, 90-100 words
  • Lecture: 90 seconds long, 184 words
Task Breakdown:
  • 35-51 questions
  • 6-9 passages
  • On-campus conversations: 2-3 passages, 5 Qs per passage
  • Academic lectures/discussions: 4-6 passages, 6 Qs per passage
  • 25 questions
  • 21 passages
  • On-campus conversations: 13 passages, 1 Q per passage
  • Conversations: 3 passages, 1 Q per passage
  • 3-part speech: 1 Q per passage
  • Academic lectures: 3Qs total - 1 question per passage)
Skill measured:
Two types of skills measured:
  • Receptive skills (independently completed tasks)
  • Integrative skills (includes a combination of reading, listening, reading and writing).
For example, a passage is read, then a professor's lecture is listened to on the same topic, and then a summary is written or an opinion is given verbally.
Single skill measured:
  • Receptive skills
For example, examinees listen to a monologue or dialogue and choose from straight forward multiple choice responses
Test Method and Construct:
Independent tasks:
  • Lectures: 500 - 800 words (Highly representative of an academic monologue)
  • Conversations: 12 - 25 exchanges [Extended Dialogues]
Centrally administered tasks:
  • Conversation: [Short Dialogues - Medium Dialogues]
  • Speech, announcement: [Medium monologue]
  • Lecture simulation: [Longer monologue]
Level: Beginning (B), Intermediate (I), Advanced (A), Low (L), High (H)

Short monologue = ˜ 50 words, [Level: BL - IL]
Medium monologue = 50 - 100 words, [Level: BH - AH]
Long monologue = 100 - 250 words, [Level: IL - AH]
Extended monologue = 250 - 350 words, [Level: IL - AH]
Short dialogue = ˜ 50 words, 2-3 turns, [Levels: BL - BH]
Medium dialogue = 50 - 100 words, 4-10 turns [Levels: IL - AH]
Long dialogue = 100 - 250 words, 6-20 turns [Levels: IL - AH]
Extended dialogue =250 - 350 words, 25~40 turns [Levels: IL - AH]
Multilogs (3 people) = 13 turns [Levels: IL - AH]

(Source: Butler et. al., 1996)
Test Item Classification:
Basic Comprehension Questions (=ESI):
  • Gist-Content
  • Gist-Purpose
  • Detail

Pragmatic Understanding Questions:
  • Gist-Content
  • Gist-Purpose
  • Detail

Connecting Information Questions:
  • Understanding organization (=EGI)
  • Connecting content (=EGI)
  • Making inferences (=MI)
(Source: TOEFL iBT, pp.142 onwards)
Dictation questions:
  • Finding the sentence what is exactly stated
  • Basic Comprehension Questions (=Detail, ESI)
  • Match the correct picture or number (=DM)
  • Completing the conversation (=Making inferences, MI)
  • Understanding the Function of What Is Said (=MI)
  • Detail (=ESI)
Level: Beginning (B), Intermediate (I), Advanced (A), Low (L), High (H)

Extract Specific Information (ESI) = listen for and identify specific information in the form of a word or phrase within the text.
Draw Meaning (DM) = listen to a text and interpret an idea expressed in the text
Extract Global Information (EGI) = listen to an extended monologue or dialogue and answer a general question requiring the interpretation of ideas presented in several utterances throughout the text
Make Inferences (MI)= draw conclusions about ideas implied but not explicitly stated in a listening text

(Source: Adopted from the guidelines of TOEFL_ iBT (ETS, 2005) and the 2006 J-NCT.)

Main Article Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E
Appendix F Appendix G Appendix H Appendix I Appendix J Appendix K

2006 Pan SIG-Proceedings: Topic Index Author Index Page Index Title Index Main Index
Complete Pan SIG-Proceedings: Topic Index Author Index Page Index Title Index Main Index

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