TOEFL iBT 10th anniversary: Biggest winners and losers

TOEFL iBT 10 years later

The TOEFL iBT is 10 years old this year!

It was first introduced in 2005, and was rolled out worldwide by 2006. I thought it would be fun to see how TOEFL scores increased or decreased in these past 10 years. I compiled the official data from the TOEFL iBT’s first year (2005-06), and compared it with the most recent data (2013).

Overall:
  • In 2005-06, there was data for 96 languages. The average TOEFL score was 82.90.
  • In 2013, there was data for 115 languages. The average TOEFL score is 82.83.
  • 19 more languages have been added, and the average score has decreased slightly.
Comparing the first year to the most recent year:
  • 92 languages were reported for both 2005-06 and 2013.
  • Same score: 17 languages
  • Score decreased: 28 languages
  • Score increased: 47 languages
Biggest “winners”
  • The largest score increase was for Italian speakers. Incredibly, their average score rose from a 71 to a 91. This 20-point improvement represents a 28.17% increase since 2005-06!
  • The second highest increase was for Korean speakers. Their average score rose from a 72 to an 85, representing a 18.06% increase!
  • Of the 45 other languages that recorded an increased score, none increased by more than 11%.
Biggest “loser”
  • By far the largest score decrease was for Kurdish speakers. Their average score decreased from a 73 to a 56. This 17-point drop represents a 23.29% decrease since 2005-06. (Ouch!)
  • Of the 27 other languages that recorded an decreased average score, none dropped by more than 9%.
Here are the full results*:
Language 2005-06 2013 Diff. %
Afrikaans 83 77 -6 -7.23%
Akan 80 77 -3 -3.75%
Albanian 77 79 +2 +2.60%
Amharic 67 75 +8 +11.94%
Arabic 67 70 +3 +4.48%
Armenian 80 77 -3 -3.75%
Assamese 99 96 -3 -3.03%
Aymara
Azerbaijani 77 77 0 0.00%
Bambara 59
Bashkir
Basque 92
Belarusian 86 87 +1 +1.16%
Bemba 77
Bengali 91 91 0 0.00%
Berber 75 73 -2 -2.67%
Bikol 87
Bosnian 82 84 +2 +2.44%
Bulgarian 88 89 +1 +1.14%
Burmese 72 78 +6 +8.33%
Catalan 90 92 +2 +2.22%
Cebuano 84 88 +4 +4.76%
Chichewa (Nyanja) 74
Chinese 75 78 +3 +4.00%
Chuvash
Croatian 89 91 +2 +2.25%
Czech 87 91 +4 +4.60%
Danish 101 98 -3 -2.97%
Dutch 103 100 -3 -2.91%
Dyula
Efik 84 79 -5 -5.95%
English 90
Estonian 97 93 -4 -4.12%
Ewe 74 74 0 0.00%
Farsi 78 82 +4 +5.13%
Fijian
Finnish 96 95 -1 -1.04%
French 86 86 0 0.00%
Fulah 61 65 +4 +6.56%
Ga 83 83 0 0.00%
Galician 95
Ganda 79
Georgian 78 82 +4 +5.13%
German 96 97 +1 +1.04%
Greek 85 91 +6 +7.06%
Guarani
Gujarati 78 86 +8 +10.26%
Gwichin
Hausa 79 72 -7 -8.86%
Hebrew 94 94 0 0.00%
Hiligaynon 86
Hindi 96 95 -1 -1.04%
Hungarian 90 92 +2 +2.22%
Ibo (Igbo) 82
Icelandic 95 95 0 0.00%
Ilocano 82
Igbo 79
Iloko 87
Indonesian 80 82 +2 +2.50%
Inupiaq
Italian 71 91 +20 +28.17%
Japanese 65 70 +5 +7.69%
Javanese 63 64 +1 +1.59%
Kannada 97 93 -4 -4.12%
Kanuri
Kashmiri 98 98 0 0.00%
Kazakh 78 76 -2 -2.56%
Khmer 72 69 -3 -4.17%
Kikuyu 83 83 0 0.00%
Kinyarwanda 71
Konkani 101 99 -2 -1.98%
Korean 72 85 +13 +18.06%
Kosraean 76
Kurdish 73 56 -17 -23.29%
Kurukh
Lao 70
Latvian 87 90 +3 +3.45%
Lingala 69
Lithuanian 84 86 +2 +2.38%
Luba-Lulua
Luo 77 80 +3 +3.90%
Luxembourgish 99
Macedonian 83 87 +4 +4.82%
Madurese 66
Malagasy 80
Malay 89 88 -1 -1.12%
Malayalam 93 97 +4 +4.30%
Maltese
Mandingo 65
Marathi 97 93 -4 -4.12%
Marshallese
Mende
Minankabau
Mongolian 66 71 +5 +7.58%
Mossi 59
Nauru
Nepali 76 83 +7 +9.21%
Norwegian 98 94 -4 -4.08%
Oriya 95 95 0 0.00%
Oromo 74
Palauan
Pohnapeian
Polish 83 90 +7 +8.43%
Portuguese 85 83 -2 -2.35%
Punjabi 84 89 +5 +5.95%
Pushtu 75 77 +2 +2.67%
Romanian 92 90 -2 -2.17%
Russian 85 84 -1 -1.18%
Samoan
Santali
Serbian 84 86 +2 +2.38%
Shona 90 89 -1 -1.11%
Sindhi 91 94 +3 +3.30%
Sinhalese 85 85 0 0.00%
Slovak 87 90 +3 +3.45%
Slovenian 92 96 +4 +4.35%
Somali 70 75 +5 +7.14%
Spanish 84 85 +1 +1.19%
Sundanese
Swahili 76 79 +3 +3.95%
Swedish 95 94 -1 -1.05%
Tagalog 85 89 +4 +4.71%
Tajik 68
Tamil 95 95 0 0.00%
Tatar 85
Telugu 83 83 0 0.00%
Thai 71 76 +5 +7.04%
Tibetan 79 79 0 0.00%
Tigrinya 78 78 0 0.00%
Tonga
Turkish 76 76 0 0.00%
Turkmen 69 70 +1 +1.45%
Twi 83 78 -5 -6.02%
Uighur 73
Ukrainian 82 82 0 0.00%
Urdu 84 90 +6 +7.14%
Uzbek 77 74 -3 -3.90%
Vietnamese 71 78 +7 +9.86%
Wolof 63 66 +3 +4.76%
Xhosa
Yapese
Yoruba 83 79 -4 -4.82%
Yupik
Zhuang
Zulu 84
http://blog.scorenexus.com/10-year-anniversary-toefl-ibt-biggest-winners-losers
* as published by ETS, the creator of the TOEFL 2005-06 data || 2013 data

Until next time,
Ed, founder of ScoreNexus