In response to the changing political and social situation of the USA, the Department of Education has been advised that TOEFL and IELTS are no longer fit for purpose. Full of enthusiasm for the wrong kind of progress, they have proposed a new test. We caught up with Betty DeVile to learn what the new test will include.
CT: Could you give us an overview of the ethos behind the new test?
BD: We needed to make a change. Think tanks funded by Charles Koch which can be trusted to be disinterested because they aren’t funded by George Soros had advised us that the old tests were only admitting students based on cultural marxist concepts such as clarity of expression and nuanced understanding. This is outdated. We want to test whether students, “know words,” and, “have the best words.”
CT: Will the structure of the test be similar to those that have gone before?
BD: Essentially, yes. We will test the four skills. For example, the students will begin by listening to one of the president’s speeches and will have to demonstrate their ability to follow the screed through its false starts and changes of topic. They will be given a series of statements about the speech and will have to decide if the statements are, “Believe me!” or “WRONG!” They will also be asked what the president implies when he says, “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero. .”
CT: Will you also be testing reading?
BD: Yes. There will be a gap fill activity where the candidates will have to choose the correct phrase to complete a passage. Here’s an example question.
“I’m going to cut taxes ________”
c) for me and my friends by getting you all to focus on abortion
There will also be a task where students read four policies and separate one “freedom” policy from three “socialism” policies.
a) Funding research into renewable energy
b) Bonuses for teachers who carry firearms
c) Medical treatment free at the point of service
d) Publicly funded universities
In order to get a mark here, students will need to be able to identify that despite being a proposal to distribute money raised through taxation to incentivize people to behave in a way a central government has decided they should behave, it is b) which is not “socialism” but “freedom.”
CT: Interesting. Will you also be testing productive skills?
BD: We will. In the speaking section candidates will be challenged to chant “Build the wall!” into a microphone for 45 seconds. There will also be a writing section where candidates will have to correctly misinterpret and summarise a graph showing the Earth’s temperature and CO2 levels, then convey a petty rebuke in 280 characters or less.
CT: This all sounds very exciting. What kind of candidates do you hope will be joining US universities after the implementation of your new English test?
BD: Preferably white people.
CT: Betty DeVile, thank you.