Summit Christian Academy is a top-ranked college prep school in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2020, Summit Christian Academy was ranked as the number one private school in the Kansas City area. The school has a strong international student program hosting students from countries such as Peru, Uganda, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, and South Korea. The program allows students to learn English and experience another culture while also sharing their own culture with peers and faculty. The academy’s International Program hosts an annual international education week, daily international prayers, and interactive cultural museums for students of all grades and nationalities to engage, share, and learn about the rich world around them.

iTEP International has maintained a strong partnership with Summit Christian Academy since 2016 when the school began using the iTEP SLATE-Plus exam in its International Program. The exam allowed the program staff to understand students’ English language abilities in more detail and to create a personalized English curriculum for each student.

Rocco DeFelice became the International Program Director at Summit Christian Academy in June 2022. He had no prior experience with iTEP and was surprised by the exam he found in place at the academy. “I had never seen a test that was as robust, but also very detailed, in how it assessed and graded the students.”

The director’s previous experiences with testing English proficiency were with other ESL programs in countries that used different testing methods. One such program used pen-and-paper testing alongside one-on-one interviews with students. The ESL staff conducted the entire testing process. The director stated, “It was a huge test. All our students took it, and it was very time-consuming.” After proctoring the exams and conducting the interviews, the ESL team had to grade all the materials and analyze each student’s results to determine their skill range.
Summit Christian Academy’s partnership with iTEP showed Director DeFelice how streamlined the process of testing, grading, and assessing can be. In his first experience using the iTEP SLATE-Plus, he stated, “Two students were taking it. It took about 90 minutes. But things were graded, things were assessed, and it was immediately turned back around. It was less work for me because I did not have to sit there grading, and I was able to get accurate results. I haven’t yet read an ITEP result that I disagree with.” Along with quick, accurate results, the director also found that iTEP’s score reports provided a high level of detail. The breakdown showed the director and his team a student’s scores in each section as well as the types of exercises the student was struggling with, such as a specific grammatical structure. This tool made it easier to give students the additional input they needed.

In addition to admissions and curriculum design, the academy also uses the iTEP SLATE-Plus to track students’ improvement while they are taking ESL classes. Students can see their progress and work with staff to adjust their English language goals as well. When benchmarking student progress, Director DeFelice said, “It was really neat to say, ‘Look, here are your test scores, here are the language goals that we’re trying to reach, and here’s how far you’ve come.’ It’s exciting. It’s not only encouraging for them, but it’s encouraging for me to know that our program is working, and you can actually see results.” When students achieve an elevated level of English proficiency, they can use the iTEP SLATE-Plus to test out of the ESL courses and matriculate into regular English language courses with their English-fluent peers.

Since 2016, iTEP has been a proud partner of Summit Christian Academy—a partnership that Director DeFelice feels will continue for a long time to come. “I see no reason to change, and I would recommend the test.”

I feel like the value at-a-cost is much higher than just doing it alone or just working it out on your own.

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