Frequent assessment and feedback allows students to make rapid progress by giving them the information they need to manage their learning
All incoming students must take the ESL ACCUPlacer test to determine their initial level and their program entry point. The initial placement test includes listening, reading, and writing components. All testing must be on site, so students registering from overseas will not be placed into a class until they arrive. However, they can register for the program and obtain a student visa. Students should show up 5 business days before classes begin so that there is time to complete their placement test and interview and attend student orientation. The testing center is open from 9:30AM-2PM Monday-Friday.
The five sections of the ACCUPlacer test used for ESL include the following:
- The ESL language use test measures a student’s proficiency in using correct grammar in English sentences.
- The ESL listening test measures the ability to listen to and understand one or more people speaking in English in an academic environment.
- The ESL reading skills test assesses student’s comprehension of short passages drawn from five content areas.
- The ESL sentence meaning test assesses the understanding of word meanings in one- or two-sentence contexts drawn from five content areas.
- WritePlacer ESL is a direct measure of a student's writing skills, The student's response is scored electronically using an automated system and scores are returned within seconds. (Only students attempting to enter Level 7 must take this part of the exam).
Students who have almost zero English are placed into Basic Literacy. They are not required to attempt an ACCUPlacer test, although they are invited to take the test.
Students are assessed throughout the 10-week quarter to determine their language levels. Types of assessments include weekly quizzes, midterms, finals, projects, and presentations. In the Basic Literacy class, students take a vocabulary quiz every day. In test prep classes, students also take simulated IELTS and TOEFL tests. This frequent testing schedule permits program staff to monitor students’ progress and pace throughout the program. Testing takes place online as well as in the classroom and is included in the overall program costs. All tests are based on the materials studied in class, which are aligned with the Common European Framework’s international standards of teaching, learning, and assessing.
Tests are holistic in nature and placement tests are randomly generated so that students can re-test when necessary. Test scores include correction for guessing, items left blank, raw number of items answered correctly, and estimated percentage of items actually understood.