ALS Introduce Exchange Test for High School Students

High school students around the world wishing to study in the United States as a J-1 Exchange student now have a new comprehensive English language skills exam available to assess the incoming student’s grammar, reading listening, and speaking skills.

The iTEP Exchange test, which will be primarily distributed to sponsors and agents by Academic Language Solutions (ALS), is the first on-demand English proficiency test for high school students that is accessible from the safety of the test-takers home while securely administering a grammar, listening and reading test. Additionally, the Exchange Test will feature a nongraded, mini-interview section that will provide sponsors, American schools, and host families a more comprehensive look at the student’s overall English language ability and fit.

“The State Department sets requirements that says these high school exchange students should be proficient in the English language,” saidKevin Morgan, ALS co-founder. “If you do some of the standardized tests, some students are very good at taking tests, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect their speaking ability. The iTEP Exchange Test has a balance between the traditional standardized test and a mini-interview with the student. It’s a better reflection of what their actual ability is going to be when they get into their school setting.”

About iTEP International

iTEP International, which has been producing, administering, and perfecting English language assessment exams for nearly 20 years, created the iTEP Exchange Test based on the needs and feedback from high school exchange program sponsors and agents as shared through ALS.

With over 90 years of combined student exchange experience, ALS founders Morgan and Randy LeGrant are keenly aware that the major complaint shared by sponsoring organizations and individuals is high test results, but low ability in terms of conversational English language skills.

“The most widely used test for high school exchange students has not really been satisfactory to a lot of schools. It’s a very basic test that was often taken multiple times with the best score submitted,” said Morgan. “There’s dissatisfaction throughout the industry.”

“We started ALS to help solve that problem,” said LeGrant. “We’re bringing high-quality, comprehensive, user-friendly and reliable English language testing products to a global market so that both sponsors and test-takers can feel confident in their results. It’s really about providing peace of mind for all parties involved, and the iTEP Exchange Test is the newest way to achieve that.”

A unique feature of the iTEP Exchange Test that Morgan and LeGrant believe sponsors will be excited about it is the addition of a free post-program exam for students to take upon completing their exchange term.

“One of the nice things about the Exchange Test is it allows sponsors the opportunity to have their students take a post-test at the end of the exchange program for comparison to give the student an assessment of how they improved,” said Morgan. “It will also provide sponsors empirical research proving the effectiveness of their programs in improving students’ English language skills.”

ALS has been a distributor of iTEP products since it was founded in 2016. The Exchange Test will join their suite of tests including the Conversation test and industry-specific tests for hospitality, au pair, government, business and education.

Changing the Landscape

Having spent decades in the exchange student environment, we always thought the weak link in recruiting was ESL testing,” said Morgan. “Our introduction to iTEP’s products precedes the founding of ALS, but now we have an opportunity to introduce some really high-quality products into the marketplace that give host families, companies and sponsors a really good solid assessment of English as a Second Language skills.”

“With iTEP exams, designed by professionals, you have a quality product with a specific purpose – like the Exchange test is for high school exchange students,” said LeGrant. “It combines the sponsors’ needs for adequate testing with the convenience and usability the student needs.”

Constant feedback, evaluation and testing are part of the brand promise of iTEP products to continue innovating, evolving and providing the most comprehensive English language skills testing on the market.

“We believe the new iTEP Exchange test fills a need in the J-1 visa high school exchange student area. This test requires no scheduling and provides official scores instantly. In addition, the mini-interview was designed with questions specifically related to exchange students and is a great way for prospective exchange students to introduce themselves to their prospective American high schools or sponsors,” said Jim Brosam II., president of iTEP International.

The iTEP Exchange Test is being launched in conjunction with International Education Week and will be immediately available through ALS for students applying for the J-1 2021 visa program.

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