English Language Learners (ELL)
Using language immersion, students whose first language is not English develop strong reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. These skills are essential for general communication and for success in post-secondary (college or university) study. All CVA students are preparing to attend college. Because of this, we will provide international students who are English Language Learners with practice materials and support to study for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Students may also prepare to take other standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT, particularly subject tests in areas other than English.
The program begins with an Orientation to the United States. Being the first to arrive on campus gives international students a chance to:
• Adapt to the change in time zones
• Take placement tests and complete paperwork
• Meet with student leaders who will help them feel at home
• Set up a bank account
• Buy items needed in the dormitory
• Visit an American museum or landmark, or experience a sporting event or concert (if time and travel arrangements permit)
Placement in a grade level and in individual classes is based on the results of a writing sample and the student’s performance on approved English screening tests in reading speed, grammar, listening, and speaking. Many of these tests rank English proficiency according to a 6-step system that moves from beginning to intermediate to advanced levels. We use these levels to show students where they are in our “Step Up Your English Proficiency” guide.
The proficiency level determines:
• Whether the student can attend a regular English class with modifications
• What level of English language instruction the student needs
• The student’s math, science, and history courses
• The type and amount of academic support the student will receive
Students at the beginning and intermediate levels will attend ESOL class three times per week.
Students at the advanced levels will meet with the International Student Coordinator for support with their other classes. In addition, they will meet one hour per week to practice and prepare for the TOEFL.
All English Language Learners (ELL) will meet with the International Student Coordinator once a week for an additional 30-minute Conversational English class. At this time, the coordinator will check in with students about their experiences, and help them understand upcoming holidays and campus events.
If a student tests below the ESOL entry level in any of the language skills, he or she must receive one-on-one tutoring in addition to the ESOL class. Entry level consists of a 50 on the SLEP test and a 40 on the JOHN test.