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:
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.