Student Placement Progression

Download as PDF


Placement and Progress Procedures


Express English College follows procedures to ensure students are placed in classes that are appropriate to their level and will enable them to advance in their studies, progressing in level as their level of English improves.


Students are tested when they join EEC using the Oxford Placement Test (OPT). This online test is undertaken using a school computer (or 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 complete 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 OPT 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.

During the first week, you will fill in the early days’ questionnaire and discuss your experience so far with the Academic Manager. If your class is not the right fit, the Academic Manager may speak to your teacher and consider moving you to a different class. This rarely occurs as the OPT is an accurate and precise guide to one’s levels.


EEC class levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels and reference the coursebooks and other teaching materials we use (download our Placement and progress procedures to be able to see it).

We recognize that due to changes in student numbers and demand, it may not be viable to run classes at all these levels throughout the year. On such occasions, 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. The progress a student makes depends on many factors, including their engagement with their teachers, their active learning habits and their regular attendance and attention in 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 organized 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.

Internal Assessment

Students are assessed throughout their course. Teachers will also set written homework Mon-Fri, as well as delivering micro-assessment tasks in class. There is a short test at the end of each coursebook unit, usually every two weeks. Unit test assessment results are recorded in order to offer us a clearer picture 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.

Every 12 weeks or thereabouts, at the end of the current study cycle, your class teacher will prepare an extensive test which covers the previous 12 weeks’s learning. This test should last for about two hours and will focus on all areas covered in class. The test will clearly demonstrate the four key skill abilities of all students. This test will largely determine the student’s current level and students will be able to progress to the next CEFR level/coursebook based on their test scores alongside other contributing factors such as their homework results, their record of attendance and the academic staffs recommendation. Both the Academic Manager and the Class Teacher will carefully consider each individual case before making a final decision.

External Examinations

We offer specialized 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.

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 free of charge.

Review: Reviewed December 2023 (EC). This document to be reviewed by the Management Team not less than every six months. Next review due June 2024. It will be subject to any changes based on UK law.