By PERRY AKINS
“As the number of international students selecting the U.S. for study continues to decline, the admission standards seem to be declining in tandem. ”
As colleges and universities become more desperate for full fee-paying international students, admissions standards are being compromised.
We can all see what has been happening to English language proficiency requirements for college admission. Those requirements are rapidly declining at some institutions as the need for more full-fee paying international students increases. In addition, as the number of international students selecting the U.S. for study continues to decline, the admission standards seem to be declining in tandem.
Short English language proficiency exams put out by app companies that barely can claim anything close to measuring English language proficiency are being accepted for admissions. The financial pressure being placed on colleges and universities during these difficult times is resulting in declining English language requirements for international students. iTEP was contacted several months ago by a senior official of an area college asking that scores be changed for 6 students so the college could admit them. The college was counting on the revenue that these six students would have generated. iTEP refused to change the scores even though it was made clear to iTEP that if the scores were not changed, then the college would no longer accept iTEP for admissions.
English language proficiency standards are set so low at some public, as well as private institutions, that most anyone can achieve a “passing” score irrespective of proficiency. Obviously, very little thought is given to the full impact on the international student’s future who is admitted with poor English proficiency and stumbles through semester after semester of not being able to understand the lecturers, compose papers in English, do the homework (on their own), or even read the assigned text materials. There are certainly those not in the ESL field who believe international students can learn English over time by just attending college classes. Unfortunately for the students, that just does not happen.
Admitting students to college who lack the necessary English language skills may help the finances of the college, but it certainly does no favor to those admitted under such conditions. If by some miracle these poorly prepared students end up with a bachelor’s degree, they will not likely be able to even conduct a job interview in English. This says nothing about what they may or may not have learned while pursuing their degrees.
These graduates will suffer throughout their entire professional life because of an admissions decision that was made for the wrong reasons.
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The International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) was introduced in 2008 to modernize English language assessment with on-demand scheduling, 24 hour grading, and accurate test data. iTEP provides a convenient and cost-effective testing option delivered in a highly secure environment.
iTEP offers a variety of assessment tools for university and secondary school admissions and ESL placement, hiring and employee assessment (including tests for specific industries), and iTEP Conversation, which assesses conversation skills in 30 minutes. All iTEP exams are graded by certified and trained native English speakers.
More than 800 colleges, universities, middle/high schools, and boarding schools in the USA and Canada accept iTEP results for admissions. Applicants can take iTEP at more than 500 test centers in 61 countries. iTEP International is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.