Placement and progress procedures
Express English College follows procedures to ensure students are placed in classes that are appropriate to their level of prior learning and will enable them to flourish in their studies, progressing in level as their level of English improves.
Students are tested when they join EEC using the Oxford Placement Test. The test is undertaken online using a computer, or using a paper test, and is marked automatically. It takes about one hour, and the results are available immediately. The test is usually carried out on the EEC premises.
We then ask students to do a short piece of writing on a familiar topic, usually in their own handwriting. This is assessed by a member of the academic staff.
For both the Oxford test and the writing test you will be working in a quiet room in the college where it’s easy to concentrate. For students studying online we can make arrangements to take both the Oxford Place Test and the writing test remotely.
The final part of the test is an interview with a member of the academic staff – the Academic Manager, Assistant Academic Manager, or one of the teaching staff. This interview serves three purposes:
• We’ll ask you questions that help us assess your level of English and encourage you to give extended answers that show us how effectively you can communicate. This will help us to assess what you’ve learnt in the
past and how we can help you to progress in the future.
• We’ll work on an Individual Learning Plan with you during the meeting. This is a formal record of your needs as an English learner and helps us to plan your course and find the best class for you.
• The interview helps us to get to know you and you to get to know us!
The placement process usually takes half a day, and at the end of it you’ll normally join your class. We allocate you to a class at a level based on the Oxford test, writing exercise, and interview. We’ll also give you any electronic or paper materials you need for your class.
Later during the first week, you will fill in the early days’ questionnaire and discuss your class with the Academic Manager. If your class is too difficult or too easy, the Academic Manager will speak to your teacher and may move you to a different class.
EEC classes are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels and reference the coursebooks and other teaching materials we use as well as approximate IELTS grades. These are as shown in table (download our Placement and progress procedures to be able to see it).
We recognise that due to changes in student numbers and demand, it may not be viable to run classes at all these levels throughout the year. Students will be placed in classes as close as possible to their assessed levels.
Our classes run on a 12-week cycle based around the learning resources used in the college. After completing 12 weeks of study with us (or up to 180 hours) a student may typically move to a higher/next-level class. Where a student is making exceptionally good progress, or alternatively is struggling to progress in any given level, their teachers and the academic team may feel that they would do better, if moved to a higher or lower-level class before completing 12 weeks in a particular class.
Depending on changing student numbers it may be necessary to split or merge classes from time to time.
As many students join classes based on continuous enrolment, and may join mid-way through a cycle, they are likely to start halfway through a coursebook the class is using. If this is the case, they usually return to the beginning of the book to complete their 12-week cycle of learning. This is normal practice and will not affect your learning in any way, the coursebooks being organised around topics and skills.
Please Note: Progression to a higher-level class is also dependent on students holding at least an 80% attendance record with the college.
Students are assessed throughout their course. There is a short test at the end of each coursebook unit, usually every two weeks. Teachers will also set written homework and in-class work, as well as delivering micro-assessment tasks in class. All assessment results are recorded: these form the basis of decisions on student progress. Where assessment results are consistently below the level expected for the class students may be asked to retake parts of the course and would not normally move to a higher class at the end of their current 12-week cycle.
The college is moving towards offering students the opportunity to take recognised public examinations. We offer specialised IELTS classes and can also give guidance on IELTS to students who are enrolled on General English classes. (Please note, ‘real’ IELTS examinations cannot be taken at the college). We offer all students the opportunity to take one or more of the Trinity College London Graded Examinations in Spoken English examinations; we can also help with training for the Cambridge Main Suite or any other examination according to students’ needs. Trinity GESE and IELTS are recognised tests for the UK Government’s Secure English Language Testing scheme which is used to assess candidates language ability for residence, visa and refugee-settlement purposes, as well as being used as proof of academic language ability for university entrance.
Academic Reports and Certificates
For sponsored students we prepare monthly mandatory reports for their funding body. These include details of attendance together with progress and engagement on the course. Students can see copies of their reports on request.
At the end of your course, students receive a certificate of attendance and achievement. We can also provide an academic report if parents, guardians or funding institutions require one.
Review: Reviewed August 2021. This document to be reviewed by the Management Team not less than every six months. Next review due February 2022. It will be subject to any changes based on UK law.