TEFLtastic has a thought-provoking guest piece on the TOEIC by Carmela Chateau of the University of Burgundy.
In France, we have moved into a parallel universe, or sixth dimension, where the ability to communicate in a language has been replaced by a certificate which attests only the ability to select correct answers to multiple choice questions. The reason could be that in France interviewers do not feel confident of their ability to speak English (perhaps because they too have a TOEIC score rather than the ability to “interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible” Level B2 Spoken Interaction CEFR). Full article >>
I've mentioned before that all our students at the Ecole de Management de Normandie now have to get 750 on the TOEIC in order to graduate. I can think of 3 reasons why this condition was introduced. Firstly, other French business schools have already imposed a similar requirement (800 or 850 in some cases!) Secondly, like it or not, an increasing number of French recruiters are using the TOEIC as a means of filtering graduate job applicants. If you haven't got 750, forget it. And thirdly, setting a minimum TOEIC score is a means of forcing students with weak English, and whose English would otherwise remain weak, to improve either by intensive study or by spending a semester or year abroad. Of course, you can argue that the TOEIC does not test communicative skills, but if a student who would have previously graduated with a TOEIC score of, say, 550 now has 750, there must have been some improvement. Having said that, there could also be negative effects such as teachers teaching to the TOEIC or students only wanting to do TOEIC preparation. Rendez-vous dans un an, as they would say in France.