|Kazuhiko Saito is the General Manager of the Public Relations Department at the Institute for International Business Communication (IIBC). IIBC's core activity is the administration of the TOEIC®. IIBC is a non-profit organization which has been operating under the auspices of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry since 1986. This interview was conducted at the IIBC office in Tokyo on May 13th 2004.|
[ p. 8 ]In 2003 there were approximately 3,400,000 examinees globally. Japan accounted for 1,423,000 candidates or 41.8% of the total. The number of people taking TOEIC has doubled worldwide since 1999 and in Japan alone more than 11 million people have taken the test since its introduction in 1979.
[ p. 9 ]The 1990's saw the collapse of the Japanese economic bubble and a shift in policy for corporate English-training programs. Companies began to question how their programs were administered, in light of the lack of forthcoming results. Consequently, the quality and effectiveness of the training programs came under greater scrutiny and companies were faced with the need to cut costs. In the mid-1990's, most of the electrical manufacturers in Japan who had previously conducted their own testing programs decided to switch to the TOEIC test to evaluate employees' English-language skills. New recruits and college students were also impacted by the burst of the economic bubble. It forced them to pay greater attention to their careers, which resulted in an increase in the number of TOEIC test-takers among university students. Companies that took TOEIC scores into consideration when hiring increased from 44% in 1989 to 59% in 1998. TOEIC is now offered in one form or another at over 200 two- and four-year universities. In 1999 the Ministry of Education approved the TOEIC test as a way to obtain university credits. By 2003, 236 universities in Japan were using TOEIC as a criteria for university entrance and 266 universities were using the test for accreditation. Hence, the structural changes in the Japanese economy have helped boost the popularity of TOEIC. This has been followed by rising demand for the test among college students. These two factors, combined with the nature of the test are responsible for the commercial success of TOEIC.
[ p. 10 ]Which linguistic skills do you consider TOEIC to be a valid measure of?