At Englist, before we can place your student in the right class, we need to see their English skills. We don’t worry as much about student age and grade level as we do a student’s ability to listen, speak, read, and write. So, we ask that all students come in for Englist’s assessment.
Our assessment is unique to our own program, and it is different from other assessments your students have taken. To make sure you and your kids are prepared, here is our advice for how to succeed on an Englist assessment.
I already know the English level of my kids. Do they need to take an assessment?
Yes. As mentioned, our assessment is unique to our program. The problem with outside assessments is that they assess different skills and standards, are not always the best indicators of ability, and some inflate student levels.
*Tip: We have an article about why students need to take our assessment, so please take a look.
What exactly is Englist assessing?
We assess a range of skills and factors. Our written and verbal assessment examines the following:
- Reading compression and tracking – Not only do students need to be able to understand what they read, but we also are looking at how well they read aloud and their spoken vocabulary.
- Writing ability – We are checking if students have ever learned paragraph structure and can link different ideas, as well as gauging grammar control and fluency.
- Language mechanics and fundamentals – We are checking to see that students have a basic understanding of English mechanics and the language skills to engage in class.
- Verbal communication fluency – Each assessment requires students to talk to a teacher so we can judge how well students can listen and speak.
However, we check for more than just how students perform on the verbal and written assessment. We are also examining the following elements:
- Learning history – We want to know where students have learned English before coming to our program, as well as how long they have been speaking English.
- Social skills – Education is a social exchange. Students need to be able to understand, respond to, and interact with teachers and other students, and our assessment checks to see that kids can function in class.
- Willingness to engage – We are also checking that students can contribute to the class. For example, during the verbal assessment we ask kids what their favorite book is. We love it when kids have an answer and can talk about a book they love because it shows strong engagement. Sadly, many students tell us they don’t read much.
- Independence and maturity – Students need to be able to interact with a teacher without help from their parents. They also need to be mature enough to work and talk with classmates.
- Parent willingness to listen and collaborate – We also judge if parents are willing to take our advice and can cooperate with our teachers and staff.
- Culture fit – Students, and their parents, need to be able to follow our methods. For example, even if a student is a native English speaker with advanced writing ability, if they are going to miss half the classes, that student wouldn’t be a good fit for Englist.
So, how do I make sure my student does well?
First of all, be aware of our requirements for students taking an assessment:
- No parents in the room during assessment – you won’t be there in class, so it doesn’t make sense for you to be in the room during the assessment either.
- If the student resists going into the assessment, or if the student doesn’t respond to the teacher, the assessment cannot move forward.
- There is a 40-minute time limit for academic writing assessments.
- No electronic devices.
Be social and communicative
Next, make sure your kids talk, are polite, and are sociable — or at least responsive. We know lots of kids are shy, and that is fine. However, even shy kids need to be able to talk with teachers and classmates. If a student is so shy they can’t interact in an assessment, then they aren’t ready to join a class.
*Tip: One way for students to show they are engaged is for students to have questions for teachers during the assessment. We often ask, “do you have any questions for us?” and if students have questions, we appreciate the chance to talk with them.
Read loud, clear, and like you are telling a story
As mentioned, one part of the assessment is reading out loud. Some students assume that good reading is fast reading, and that is wrong. Teachers can learn a lot from listening to a student read out loud, so be sure that your student enunciates and reads clearly, and be sure they are loud enough for the teacher to hear. The goal is to read like you are telling a story – the teacher should be able to understand without having to read along.
Relax and just do your best
On our assessments there is no grade nor is it a reflection of student intellect or value as people. It’s just a placement test. No one does “bad”.
With this in mind, don’t worry about the results so much, especially on the written test. Just let students show us what they can do, and we’ll make sure we put them in the right class.
Be open to our feedback and recommendations
Once the written test is done, we will recommend the best class we have for your student. We ask that parents are open to our judgment.
Trust that we have a student’s best interest in mind when placing them. Feedback from prior teachers or programs is interesting, but we are the most familiar with our own program and which class would help your child the most. Again, Englist can only accept our own assessment, and we make our decisions based on what we see during this assessment.
*Tip: Some parents want their kids in a particular class because it works best with their schedules. Other parents want their kids in a class because the student has friends already enrolled. We want those things too, but our priority is making sure your student is with the right teacher at the right level. We appreciate families who share that priority.
Make Englist a priority
Speaking of priorities, sometimes the class we recommend will conflict with another activity a student is involved with. We consider our program the top priority, and we earnestly believe you should too.
There are plenty of sports programs, tutors, and activities available, but we don’t know of any other programs that promote academic literacy and authentic English Language Arts curriculum quite like we do. What we teach are the skills that students need if your goal is to enroll your kids in schools overseas or apply to university abroad. If the class we recommend for your student conflicts with basketball practice, or piano class, design, or whatever, we urge you to reschedule the other activity. After all, your student probably won’t be a professional basketball player or pianist, but they will need to go to college.
This one is easy. Just make sure your kids are on time, polite, and patient with our staff — and make sure you are too. When everyone is courteous and trying their best, everything goes better.
Now that you know how to be successful on an Englist assessment, get in touch with us and schedule one for your kids.