What is ESL Placement test?

ESL placement test is to determine what level a student will be placed into at the start of each new academic term. You will be placed into one of three different proficiency levels: 

  • Beginner 
  • Intermediate 
  • Advanced

You will be scheduled for a class in each of the four skill areas: 

  • Oral Communications 
  • Grammar
  • Reading
  • Writing

The test does not exempt you from taking ESL classes.

How can I qualify for English as a Second Language (ESL) exemption? 

To qualify for ESL exemption, you must submit one of the following acceptable English language exams; meeting minimum scores and sub-scores. If sub-scores do not meet our minimum requirements, you will have to take an ESL class in that skill area. 

  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English) –  score of 53
  • IELTS (Cambridge) – Band 6.5
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) –  score of 80 IBT (Internet Based Test)
  • Completion of English Language School (ELS) – Level 112  

Must I Take this Test?

Check your acceptance letter to see if you are required to take the English language placement test.


Ask an Advisor

If you have submitted your proof of English proficiency after you were accepted - or are still not sure if you need to take the ESL placement test - talk to the ESL advisor when you arrive on campus.

What Happens After the Test?

If you obtain a qualifying ESL Placement Test score, you will go on to take our Institutional Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

How can I exit ESL and enter JWU degree programs?

You must successfully complete advanced level ESL courses with at least a “C” grade in each advanced level ESL course for undergraduate student and at least a “B” grade in each advanced level course for graduate student. You may repeat ESL courses until you qualify to exit the program. 

Can I schedule my own ESL course?

ESL course are scheduled by Student Academic Services (SAS) and cannot be changed unless a students have extenuating circumstances. 

Can I see my professors outside class times?

Your professors all have office hours, or time allocated for students. It is necessary that you organize to meet with them during these times. If the times are not suited for your schedule, it is your responsibility to work with your professors to find a time that woks for both of you. Your professors’ office hours will be listed on the syllabus they give you on the first day of classes. 

What is the language culture in an American Classroom?

You are in an American classroom, so even if you and your classmates are not American, it is very important that the language spoken in class is English. It is very difficult if there are a dominant number of students from one country speaking their native language while others don't speak that language. People are left out and feel as if they are not included. Please be thoughtful of this situation- everyone can speak English, so please do so!

What is the Conversation Partners Program?

Conversation Partners is a program we offer to our advanced level students. During the term, you will be paired up with a native speaker of English. You can talk about a different topic every week, or explore the city of Providence with your partner.