Placement Testing, Level Assessment, and Promotion
Placement testing: On Monday or Tuesday of the first week, all new students take placement tests. These tests help us determine a student’s level(s). There are four tests: Reading, writing, listening, and an oral interview. After the tests are scored, new students are placed in levels. During the first week of classes, teachers do further assessment, to make sure the tests gave an accurate measure of a student’s language skills. At the end of the first week, teachers meet together and determine whether new students’ skills match the levels they were placed into. Students who need to move are told on Monday of Week 2 where to go for their changed class level.
Assessment and promotion: Teachers use projects and activities in class to help students develop their skills. Teachers make notes of what they see, in terms of students’ listening and speaking abilities, and they have students keep portfolios of written work that shows students’ writing and reading abilities. Teachers share their assessments with students during the term in several ways: in class; at meetings after class or in the teacher’s office (students or teachers may initiate these meetings); and at a mid-term individual conference with each student. To move to the next level at the end of a term, a student must demonstrate consistent ability to do what the benchmarks for the level indicate. These benchmarks are communicated to students at the beginning of each term. Teachers tell students, and students should ask teachers, how their work compares to the benchmarks.
A student whose skills do not meet the benchmarks consistently by the end of the term will need to continue work in the same level during the next term. If a student is unable to achieve the level benchmarks during a second term at the same level, INTERLINK will normally help the student find another English program, since this shows that there is not a good match between that student and the INTERLINK program.
Absence policy and promotion: INTERLINK has a strict absence policy. Students are expected to attend every class unless they are sick. Appointments for drivers’ license, academic counseling, etc. should not be scheduled during class times. They are not legitimate reasons for being absent from classes. Students should also arrive for class on time. Three latenesses are counted as one absence. After the second absence, students receive a written warning. After a third absence, students may be asked to meet with the director and sign a contract. The contract warns about immigration violations and effects on promotion. Under INTERLINK and SEVIS policies, a student who misses more than six classes for any reason fails the class and is in danger of being out of status with their visa.
Grades: The grading system is based primarily on skills and the benchmarks for each level. A student who does not meet or surpass a benchmark for the level cannot pass into the next level.