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.
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.
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.