Monthly Archive for April, 2007

Junk Food Messing With Your Mind

McDonald’s subliminal advertisements on the Food Network

(0)

Mona Lisa with MS Paint

Mona Lisa painted with MS Paint

(0)

Photos of Lost Cities

Photos of Lost Cities

(0)

Become Republican

Become Republican

(0)

Hubble Photos

Several breath-taking Hubble photos.

(0)

TOEFL Test and Score Data Summary for TOEFL ibt

ETS_TOEFL_logo Every year, ETS publishes data about its test forms, who took the test, where, how well did the candidates perform, etc., they also publish score results by country and native language. The data has been collected accurately, but of course they completely depend on the honesty of their customers. German test takers’ results from the beginning of the new TOEFL ibt test form in September 2005 up to December 2006 are as following:

reading listening speaking writing total
23 25 24 24 96

In Europe, test takes in Belgium (99), United Kingdom (97), Denmark (101), Finland (97), Norway (98), and the Netherlands (102) performed better, with Kosovo trailing behind the rest of Europe with an average total of 70 points, behind Italy with 71. The United Kingdom, a country with at least 85,67% native speakers, has a five points lower average total score than the Netherlands! It’s not that the Dutch education system and preparation for the test is superior, but the majority of foreigners in the UK who take the test don’t usually speak Dutch, which is closer to English than many other languages.

The test is aimed at foreigners, so usually English native speakers are not the target group, but in some cases Americans have to take the test, too. If you’re in Japan and want to enter a master’s course at a Japanese university, you could be asked to take the TOEFL in spite of being an English native speaker. Your chances to score high are good, but since it is not only an English test, but verifies your abilities to use English in an academic context, it is difficult for native speakers as well.

World-wide, the lowest total scores can be found in Qatar with and average of 54 total points, the highest is in the Netherlands with the afore-mentioned 102 points on average. US test takers are at 85 – yet far lower than United Kingdom. Sounds to me like test takers in the US underestimate the difficulty of the TOEFL. I’m in the US for some time already and this is an American test – what could possibly happen? Most probably the same reason as above with the UK applies, but there’s still a gap of 12 points.

The report also includes a list of all examinees by native language. English native speakers have a total score of 90 (!) on average, the highest are from Dutch native speakers (103), lowest are Fula-Peulh native speakers with 61. Native Japanese speakers are at 65, Korean native speakers at 72 points. An ETS contact explained on inquiry that there are certain groups of people who enter English as their native language, for example M?ori in New Zealand: Their native language is not in the ETS lists, but English is the official language in their native country. Another example are bi- and multilingually raised people.

Oh, the maximum number of points in TOEFL ibt is 120, take a look at the TOEFL ibt FAQ for further questions.

If you took the computer-based or paper-based TOEFL in the last two years, the TOEFL ibt/pbt/cbt comparison chart might be for you, too.

Maplight.com

Illuminating the connection between money and politics. Where’s the German equivalent?

(0)

From Cavalry Charges to Nukes

Churchill came of age when the cavalry charge was still a valid tactic for breaching the enemy’s defenses and he didn’t leave the world stage until Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been vaporized.

(0)

Because Enshrinement Is Cheaper Than Paying Pensions

because enshrinement is cheaper than paying pensions to Korean WWII veterans – and the other side of the Yasukuni story.

(0)

Where Are All the Open Source Billionaires?

Where Are All the Open Source Billionaires? is a great article about open source and a Linux distro timeline showing the development over 16 years.

(0)

How to Eat M&Ms in Zero Gravity

How to Eat M&Ms in Zero Gravity

(0)

TOEFL ibt and the Common European Framework Reference for Languages

ETS_TOEFL_logo At last, the CEFR for TOEFL ibt scores is finally published. You can download the summary at ETS Europe’s website. With it, you can compare your TOEFL ibt score with the CEFR, a goal, that was long in the air and needed quite some time to be fully worked out. Never mind that the comparison levels for C2 for reading and A1 and A2 for speaking and writing don’t make much sense, the results for the levels between B1 and C1 are certainly useful for test takers.

Further reading: CEFR at the Council of Europe

Coincidental Incidents

Every once in a while something happens that makes you question how the world ticks. In my case, since I’m clueless, this happens quite often, but here’s an event, so unlikely, that I stop for a second and write about it. Bear with me, I have to go into the details of the circumstances that lead to today’s event.

I’m using Thunderbird to collect rss feeds from various sites, so I don’t have to visit them every time there’s an update. One of them, Parent Hacks, is new in my list. If you have kids, check out the site. Anyway, today’s entry was about Parent Hacks being nominated at Blogger’s Choice Awards. On the left hand, the Blogger’s Choice Awards site has categories for nominated blogs, out of curiosity I started clicking through the categories to see the rankings and looked at the top ten in the best parenting category, too. One of the funnier titles that cought my eye was The Redneck Mommy, which was the next blog I looked at. I liked their design idea and stumbled over a word in a posting: Dooces. What’s that? LEO couldn’t help, and the blog itself didn’t reveal the answer at first (click on FAQ to find out). Dooce has a daily links column on the left, with a link to a Demetri Martin Youtube video. I love comedy – click I’m there and watching it. In the related column at Youtube, I notice a video of the same comedian: Material Enhancers. After I’m almost done watching that one, too, a friend who logged in at Skype sends me a message – the last time was yesterday evening we talked. His message contained only one link, to a blog entry of one of his friends, Kai. In his posting, Kai writes that he came across a new stand up comedian and links to two Youtube videos. Yep, the same comedian, the same video, Demetri Martin, Material Enhancers. Out of several hundred thousand terabytes of information, over a hundred million of websites, millions of videos, he just happens to send me the same one I was watching at that moment.

What do you make out of that?

update: I found out that Kai had the videos from presentation zen, a weblog I visited for the first time a few days before the Demitri videos were posted there. The blogosphere is a small place indeed.

DoMyStuff

DoMyStuff – and do it quickly.

(0)

Abgeordnetenwatch

Abgeordnetenwatch.de Find your representative, ask questions, get direct answers and track their voting record.

(0)