Although many studies have been conducted to validate the writing tasks on various versions of the TOEFL, none have explored the comparability of students’ performance on TOEFL writing tasks and actual academic writing tasks. Investigating this comparability is essential for providing backing for the extrapolation inference in the TOEFL validity argument.
We conducted a study that examines the comparability of TOEFL iBT writing tasks and tasks assigned in required university writing courses. Because such courses constitute a graduation requirement for all students in many North American universities, they represent an important part of the TLU domain. Specifically, we investigated whether students viewed their performance on the TOEFL iBT writing tasks as comparable to their writing performance in their required writing class. We also examined instructors’ and students’ perceptions of the comparability of the characteristics of the TOEFL writing tasks and rubrics and those assigned in required writing classes.