International English Institute

Teaching English as a Second Language since 1977 – Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

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Curriculum | English for academic purposes | Placement & assessment



Our curriculum is divided into six levels – beginning with level one for students who have no prior knowledge of English and ending at level six with students who are advanced users of the English language.

Full-time students take four or five courses per day (20 to 25 hours per week). This includes one hour of Speaking, of Listening, of Reading, of Writing, and of Grammar for each level.

The Speaking, Writing, and Grammar classes are group classes in a classroom with students working together communicatively and learning from each other as well as from the teacher.

Writing classes in Levels Four, Five, and Six use the Computer Lab for Internet Research and Word Processing.

The Listening and Reading classes are individualized in a lab with each student working individually on individual needs with a lab director.

Levels One through Five provide a basic foundation in English for all students. Level Six allows a student to concentrate on skills and English necessary for particular needs: personal, professional, business, or academic.

Curriculum | English for academic purposes | Placement & assessment

 Feb 06 IEI 023
English for Academic Purposes

Students who are planning to attend colleges and universities in the United States are given focused help. Initially, the academic director interviews such students and outlines for each individual student a plan and a time table for achieving this goal. The plan includes:

  • Preparation for the TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, or Michigan Test (MELAB) including linguistic preparation and practice in general test-taking skills and specific skills these tests in the paper version and the new computer-based version
  • Linguistic preparation for successful completion of university programs through concentration on reading skills, writing skills (including a research paper), lecture note-taking skills, and classroom discussion skills
  • Cross-cultural counseling about United States university culture and life–the “American” academic world
  • Assistance in researching and choosing a college or university
  • Assistance in applying to specific colleges and universities

Placement tests are done the first day of registration. In placement testing, we try to get an idea of how much English you know and can use in the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Grammar

After you take these tests, the teachers grade them and the results tell us at which level you can best learn. Students may be placed in a different level in Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading, and Grammar, depending on demonstrated proficiency in each of these skills. You will find out your levels when you get your schedule of your classes on Orientation Day.

Reassessment period

Sometimes students are very tired from jet lag or very nervous when they come to take the tests. This is why we give you five days to adjust and, during this week, the teachers will make sure that you are in the right level. If you or the teacher believes that your level is too high for your English ability, then either you or the teacher can tell the Academic Director and you will be moved down to another level. If you or the teacher believes that you are too low for your English ability, you will be asked to show that you know the information for that level. You may be asked to take another test. If you show that your English is ready for the next level, you will go to the next level in that class.

Ongoing assessment

In all your classes, you will be asked to show what you know. You will have homework, writing assignments, quizzes, and tests in all of your classes. This will be oral in your conversation classes. It will be written in your reading, writing, listening, and grammar classes. You will be given a mid-term assessment grade that will tell you of your progress in your classes.

End-of-term assessment

At the end of every term, you will be given a series of tests on the 34th day. These tests will tell us whether you know the goals of the level you are in and whether you are ready to work on the next level.

Optional assessments

Every term, the Institute offers you a chance to take the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). To take the TOEIC test, you must sign up with TOEIC online. The TOEIC test is given every month, usually on the second Saturday of the month, if six or more people sign up.

Twice a year, a student has the option to take the Institutional Michigan Exam. The Michigan Exam is free to all full-time students who are Level 4 and above in all classes. The Michigan exam costs $25.00 for students who are part-time or not Level 4 in all their classes.  Download Michgan Test Form

Taking these tests is optional (your choice).

How do I appeal my test results?

If you do not agree with the level you are in because of what you have shown on either your placement or your end-term tests, here is what you can do.

  • Go to your teacher or to the Academic Director
  • Ask why you are in that level, and talk about making a change.

At IEI, it is our policy to place you where you can best learn. If you are not ready for the next level, it is not good for you to be in that level. Sometimes this means repeating the level, but that is okay. We do not put you in a higher level unless you are ready. Knowing English means using English correctly.

Curriculum | English for academic purposes | Placement & assessment

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