International Program and Courses for English Language Learners
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, international students who are English Language Learners will be provided with the practice materials and support needed 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 I and ACT, which are used in the college application process.
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 zone, 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, and 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. These levels are used 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.
If a student tests below the entry level of our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class 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.
Students at the beginning and intermediate levels will attend ESOL class three times per week.
ESOL course:This is an immersion course; in class, students will listen, read, speak, and write in English only. Students in the class may range in age from 13 to 19; they may be enrolled in other courses for students in grades 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Post-graduate (PG) students that wish to study for the TOEFL iBT prior to applying to college should also attend the TOEFL preparation course. The goal is for each student to attain a level of proficiency in English that will allow them to work at grade level with little or no changes to the curriculum in order to complete their secondary (U. S. high school) education at CVA. Successful completion of the course as a senior or PG indicates that the student is capable of achieving academic success at a post-secondary school, college, or university in the United States, or at any English-speaking college or university world-wide.
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.
TOEFL preparation course: This is an intensive writing course; in class, students will listen, read, speak, and write in English only. The class covers strategies for taking standardized tests and provides students with ample practice in the skills required to succeed on the TOEFL iBT. International students that plan to take other tests of English language proficiency for non-native speakers, or who intend to take the SAT, ACT, or other standardized tests given in English, are advised to take this class.