Having TOEFL clear speech is explicitly mentioned in the delivery aspect of the rubric. Taking a deeper look at the TOEFL rubric reveals specifically what you need to do in order to have clear speech.
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TOEFL Independent Speaking Rubric
Being highly intelligible and having well-paced flow are two areas mentioned. In addition, the rubric explains that you must have clear speech. If you have some minor problems with pronunciation or intonation, you will be able to score 4.0–as long as your pronunciation problems do not affect your overall intelligibility.
TOEFL clear speech: Being highly intelligible
Having highly intelligible speech means it is easy for others to understand what you are saying.
Example of highly intelligible speech
This speaker has some language-use problems and some problems with pacing. However, it is quite easy to understand what she is saying.
Example of somewhat intelligible speech
Unlike the first speaker, you need to really pay attention in order to understand what he is saying. In addition, he has vocabulary and grammar limitations that make it hard for him to fully express his ideas.
TOEFL clear speech: Having a well-paced flow
Having a well-paced flow means you do not have too many awkward pauses and hesitations.
Example of well-paced, even flow
In this response, the speaker has a fairly well-paced flow to his ideas. This speaker achieves good pacing because he is pausing after every 4-5 stressed words.
Example of uneven flow
Unlike the first speaker, this speaker pauses after every 1-2 stress words. As a result, her pacing is choppy and fragmented.
TOEFL clear speech: Minor problems with pronunciation
When ETS mentions pronunciation, they are referring to how you are pronouncing the sounds in the words that you speak. If you mispronounce certain words to the extent that others cannot understand, you are having major, not minor, problems with pronunciation.
Minor problems with pronunciation
Even though this student has some intonation issues, these are minor problems. Hence, it is not difficult to understand what the student is saying.
Major problems with pronunciation
In several instances in this response, it is difficult to understand what the student is saying. Aside from having pacing and intonation problems, the student is having problems pronouncing the sounds and syllables of certain words.
TOEFL clear speech: Minor problems with intonation
Intonation involves using higher, neutral, and lower inflections on different parts of sentences that you speak. Your goal is to vary your tone so that you sound more natural.
Minor problems with intonation
In this response, the speaker varies his intonation so that he sounds natural.
Major problems with intonation
In contrast to the first response, this speaker does NOT vary his tone very much. Instead, he uses an unnatural monotone. In addition, his pacing is awkward without enough natural breaks in his speech.
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