What is Educational Testing Services&Reg;?

G. Wiesen

Educational Testing Services® is a nonprofit, private organization that creates, administers, and evaluates a number of different standardized tests. These tests are typically aimed at post-secondary education students, usually those looking to enter graduate programs or who are working toward a particular vocation. A number of different tests are offered by this organization, including the Graduate Records Examination® (GRE®), the Test of English as a Foreign Language® (TOEFL®), and the Praxis Series™ of tests for prospective teachers. Educational Testing Services® designs and administers these tests, but it is not necessarily involved directly in establishing guidelines for how various schools use the results of the tests.

Educational Testing Services offers a number of standardized tests.
Educational Testing Services offers a number of standardized tests.

In general, Educational Testing Services® is recognized as a major developer and administrator of standardized tests for a number of different purposes. One of the most highly utilized tests developed by Educational Testing Services® is the GRE®. The GRE® is utilized as a test for students completing their undergraduate education, typically those finishing a bachelor’s degree, who are interested in moving on toward post-graduate work on a master’s degree or doctorate. There are three basic components of the GRE® General Test, which include analytical writing, verbal reasoning and critical reading, and quantitative reasoning or mathematics.

Educational Testing Services aims to create tests that are not culturally biased.
Educational Testing Services aims to create tests that are not culturally biased.

The TOEFL® is also a commonly utilized test that has been developed and is administrated by Educational Testing Services®. This test is usually required by graduate programs, and some undergraduate programs as well, in countries where English is the primary language for any student coming from a country in which English is not the primary language. It is designed to test the fluency and critical reading and writing skills of a potential student, allowing schools to ensure that students will be able to effectively attend classes taught in English. Educational Testing Services® provides a number of testing locations, for the TOEFL® and other tests, in numerous countries.

One of the major concerns regarding standardized testing is that the questions or language used in such tests can be culturally biased. A test that asks questions about snow, beaches, cities, or other particular geographical conditions, for example, would be biased toward students familiar with such conditions. Educational Testing Services® and other makers of standardized tests often spend a great deal of time and money to ensure that tests are created with questions lacking a cultural, gender, or age bias. The success of such efforts, however, continues to be a source of much debate and standardized tests alone may not necessarily be an accurate analysis of a student’s capabilities.

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