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相比托福,雅思更注重个人体验

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   托福,一度是考核英语能力的唯一考试,现在有了竞争对手,雅思。

  在第二轮招生中,耶鲁大学开始接受托福和雅思两种成绩来评估英文能力。尽管雅思的支持者说它比托福能更好的反映学生的语言能力,雅思在高中和大学的普及程度还远远不能和托付抗衡。

  耶鲁大学招生办公室主任Jeff Brenzel说,接受托福和雅思成绩给学生考试提供了便利条件。

  “雅思考试已经被证实为一个语言能力的考核,”Brenzel主任在电子邮件中写到。“在两个考试中有一个更便利的情况下,我们想让学生有选择的余地,就像我们对待SAT和ACT考试一样。”

  尽管托付和雅思考试考核同样的技能,两个考试的结构截然不同。托福可以机考和笔考,雅思只能笔考,只有例外的少数几个机考中心。

  雅思国际美国总监Beryl Meiron说,除了托福考核的基本技能之外,雅思考试有两个部分注重于学术的阅读和写作技能。雅思还有一个口语部分,与托福的全部笔试截然不同。

  Meiron总监在电话还说道,另外与托福不同的是,雅思还需要一个与受过训练的且英语为第二语言的官员面对面面试的板块。

  她说:“对于考生来说,雅思是一个更注重个人的体验。”

  在过去的四年中,所有八所常青藤盟校都悄悄地采纳了雅思,尽管普林斯顿大学和宾西法尼亚大学的本科招生还是不接受这个考试。哈佛本科生院对本科申请人没有英语能力考试的要求。

  随着更多学校接受雅思,全国的备考公司都已经扩张了自己的业务,来对应学生的新需求。

  但是,一些国际私利学校仍然保持着对托福的重视。

  Stanstead学院是魁北克的一所顶极备考学校,大学指导员Eryn Hessian说,学生可以通过辅导课程准备托福考试。

  但是,她说,到雅思考试被广泛接受之前,学校提供专项雅思辅导的可能不大。

  “我们先在只做托福,”她说,“它是美国和加拿大入学的标准,其他考试要得到更多的认可,我们才会开展业务。”

  Meiron总监说,现在耶鲁和其他常青藤盟校接受了雅思,她希望更多美国大学开始用它来衡量英语能力。

  她说:“有很多学校都在关注常青藤盟校,特别是耶鲁大学,来引领这个潮流。”

  据雅思官方网站,雅思现在被1700多所美国学术机构接受认可。

  IELTS may replace TOEFL

  Raymond Carlson
  Staff Reporter
  Published Tuesday, October 21, 2008

  The TOEFL, once the only exam testing English proficiency, now has competition in the IELTS.
  For the second admissions cycle, Yale is accepting both the Test of English as a Foreign Language and the International English Language Testing System as indicators of English-language proficiency. While supporters of the IELTS said it reflects students’ language abilities better than the more widely accepted TOEFL, the IELTS has still struggled to match the popularity of the TOEFL among high schools and universities.

  Accepting both the TOEFL and IELTS gives students the opportunity to take the most convenient exam, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said.

  “The IELTS exam has been well validated as a test of functional proficiency,” Brenzel wrote in an e-mail message. “We wanted students to have the option of going either way in the event that one form of testing was more readily available than another, just as we do with the SAT and ACT exams.”

  While the TOEFL and IELTS exams test the same skill groups, the exams have significantly different structures. While the TOEFL can be taken online or with a pencil and paper, the IELTS exam can only be completed on paper, with the exception of a small number of computer-based test centers.

  The IELTS exam features two sections focused on academic reading and writing skills, beyond the basic skills tested in the TOEFL, said Beryl Meiron, the United States executive director for IELTS International. The IELTS also has a speaking section, unlike the paper version of the TOEFL.

  Also unlike the TOEFL, the IELTS exam requires a face-to-face interview portion by a trained English-as-a-second-language official, Meiron said in a telephone interview.

  “IELTS is a much more personal experience for the test taker,” she said.

  Over the past four years, all eight Ivy League universities have quietly adopted the IELTS, although Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania do not accept the test for undergraduate admissions. Harvard College does not require an English-proficiency test for undergraduate applicants.

  By accepting the IELTS, institutions allow students to take the exam that best fits their test-taking styles, Meiron said.

  “When students have an option to take IELTS, because the item types are different and … the test environment is more friendly, they may find that their test anxiety is down,” she said. “They may perform better and get a truer measure of their English-language proficiency.”

  As more schools accept the IELTS, test-preparatory companies around the country have expanded their services to take advantage of new student demand.

  Kaplan Aspect, the English-language preparation company for test-prep company Kaplan Inc., currently offers extensive IELTS study courses in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said Kaplan Aspect spokesman Russell Schaffer.

  Still, some international private schools remain focused on preparing their students for the TOEFL.

  At Stanstead College, a top-tier preparatory school in Quebec, students can prepare for the TOEFL exam through tutoring programs, said Eryn Hessian, Stanstead’s university guidance coordinator.

  But until the IELTS exam becomes widely accepted, she said, it is unlikely the school will provide IELTS-specific tutoring.

  “We’re just working on the TOEFL for now,” she said. “It is the standard for admissions in Canada and the U.S. The other exam has to be more recognized for us to go with it.”

  Now that Yale and other Ivy League schools have accepted the IELTS exam, Meiron said, she hopes more American colleges and universities will begin to use it as a measure of English language proficiency.

  “There are a lot of institutions that look at the Ivies, and particularly a school like Yale, to take the leadership position,” she said.

  IELTS is now accepted by more than 1,700 academic institutions, professional bodies and accrediting institutions in the U.S., according to the IELTS Web site.

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