EnglishUSA, a professional organization for the Intensive English Program (IEP) community, recently asked their members to share their experiences with English proficiency tests. Dr Eddy White, Assessment Coordinator at the Center for English as a Second Language at the University of Arizona, offered the following thoughtful account of using iTEP for English assessment in his program.
We currently have approximately 400 international students. Our IEP is a seven-level program, and each session lasts for eight weeks, with a new intake of students happening five times per year. The number of students entering each session varies from 75 to 300+, depending on the session. We do placement testing with approximately 600-800 new students at CESL per year.
I joined CESL in 2011 as the new Assessment Coordinator, and one of my first jobs was to review the placement test in place. This review lead to a major overhaul, including replacing the existing commercial test with the International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP), produced and administered by Boston Educational Services (BES). I researched a number of different commercially available tests, and, decided to go with iTEP for our placement testing needs. We have been satisfactorily using the test since 2012.
BES have various versions of their proficiency tests available, and were very accommodating to our requests and were able to customize a test for our needs. We asked BES to create an academic placement test with Reading, Listening, and Grammar sections, and they created the 50 minute version of our current CESL Placement Test (which we supplement with our two in-house Writing and Speaking tests). We also asked BES to modify and simplify the test registration page to accommodate new students with very low levels of proficiency.
Responsive and knowledgeable staff ensure that any questions or requests are taken care of efficiently and professionally.
Eddy White, Ph.D.
Center for English as a Second Language
University of Arizona
We know IEPs have varied English assessment processes and requirements, so we’re thrilled that our highly customizable and flexible exams and support staff have been able meet the needs of Dr. White and the UA CESL.