A Comparability Study of Two Standardized English as a Foreign Language Tests

Inn-Chull Choi1,, Youngsun Moon1
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1Korea University
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ⓒ Copyright 2018 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: May 28, 2018 ; Revised: Jul 20, 2018 ; Accepted: Jul 23, 2018

Published Online: Aug 31, 2018


This study investigates the degree of comparability between TEPS and TOEIC regarding test content and construct considering that these elements are important since they are frequently utilized as official English tests in Korea. The New TEPS, an updated version of the original TEPS that reflects the needs analysis, and TOEIC, which was revised in 2016, were analyzed based on the following theoretical frameworks that focus on language elements. This study systematically analyzed test attributes based on: 1) Test Task Characteristics (type, length, speed, etc.) of each test section and item distribution based on the type and content category, 2) Various corpus indices of the test content, and 3) Test Usefulness (construct validity, authenticity, and interactiveness), comparing the overall test comparability between the New TEPS and TOEIC. Results indicate that although the tests’ objectives and development foundations differ, there were similarities in content and construct. Nevertheless, a handful of discrepancies were also identified, necessitating the thorough examination of the tests’ compatibility when interpreting test results. In addition, based on the theoretical framework of Test Usefulness, the strengths and weaknesses of each test’s content and construct were examined. This study also postulates a suitable direction to develop a valid communicative proficiency test.

Keywords: comparability; standardized EFL tests; Test Task Characteristics; Test Usefulness; corpus analysis