The Visiting Scholar and Exchange Student Online English Language Assessments were developed by the former English Language Institute (ELI) at Michigan Tech and are administered by qualified staff with expertise in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
These assessments are designed to provide departments with the information they need in order to make informed decisions regarding hosting international exchange students or visiting scholars. These assessments are not designed to serve as proof of English language proficiency for students seeking admission to a degree program
The assessments are conducted via Zoom (or similar app) or face-to-face, when available.
The assessments must be requested through a department coordinator and paid for when scheduling. The assessments cost $25 each.
Visiting Scholar English Language Assessment
The Visiting Scholar English Language Assessment is designed to help ensure that scholars are able to use language at a level that would allow them to be self-sufficient in the community while conducting their research. It is not intended to measure academic language ability. The assessment is required to meet U.S. State Department requirements to demonstrate English language proficiency to issue J-1 Exchange Visitor visas.
Visiting Scholars are interviewed for approximately 15-30 minutes. They receive several pictures and are asked questions about each photo. The questions range from descriptive to abstract. During the assessment, scholars may ask for clarification. Two raters are present to ensure objectivity.
Exchange Student English Language Assessment
The Exchange Student English Language Assessment attempts to measure a student’s level of listening and speaking in a more academic context as well as basic communication.
Students are interviewed for approximately 15-30 minutes. They are asked questions about one photo and other topics. The questions range from descriptive to abstract. During the assessment, students may ask for clarification. Two raters are present to ensure objectivity.
Procedure for Requesting Visiting Scholar and Exchange Student Online English Language Assessment
- Provide the potential student or scholar’s name and email address to your department coordinator.
- The department coordinator will email email@example.com and provide the name and email address of the student/scholar.
- The Graduate School’s English Language Support Program Coordinator will email the student/scholar with a link to pay for the assessment ($25) and arrange a time for the assessment. The department coordinator and additional rater will be CCd.
- The Graduate School will email the results of the assessment in pdf format to the department coordinator, the student/scholar, and International Programs and Services (IPS). Note that it may take up to two weeks to schedule, conduct, and rate the assessment
In an effort to make our assessment as transparent and useful as possible, a copy of the rubric used to rate the scholar’s English proficiency is included below. This rubric will also be included with the assessment results
English Language Assessment Rating
|1||Does not seem to understand even simple conversation. Speech is so halting and broken as to make conversation almost impossible. Does not have enough vocabulary to engage in conversation. Pronunciation and grammar errors make speech almost unintelligible.||Individual would require a translator in order to communicate in most situations.|
|2||Has great difficulty understanding what is said unless it is spoken very slowly with frequent repetitions. Speech is hesitant and minimal due to language limitations. Vocabulary is limited, and words are often misused. Pronunciation and grammar errors greatly limit communication.||Individual would require a great deal of support to communicate in many situations.|
|3||Understands most of what is said at slower-than-normal speed with some repetition. Speech frequently disrupted by search for words. Limited vocabulary makes conversation difficult at times, and words are sometimes misused. Pronunciation problems require concentration on the part of the listener and occasionally lead to misunderstanding. Makes frequent grammar errors that sometimes cause confusion.||Individual could likely handle many daily-life communication situations in English. Likely would place into and benefit from ESL courses and/or support.|
|4||Understands nearly everything at normal speed, with infrequent repetition. Speech is generally fluent with occasional lapses to search for words. Occasionally misuses words, or rephrases due to an unknown word. Pronunciation is accented but mostly easily understood. Makes occasional grammatical errors, but they do not cause confusion.||Individual seems to have sufficient English to successfully communicate in most situations. Might benefit from Transitional level ESL courses.|
|5||Understands everything at normal speed. Speech is fluent and effortless. Vocabulary is similar to that of a native speaker. Pronunciation is accented but easily understood. Grammar is similar to that of a native speaker.||Individual has a strong grasp of English and should have no trouble communicating at MTU and in the local community|
|*Adapted from the Student Oral Language Observation Matrix (SOLOM)|