The program follows the innovative, effective, and non-traditional Focal Skills Approach to second language acquisition. The Focal Skills method was developed 25 years ago and is used by many universities around the world to prepare students for university-level study in English. Focal Skills has been shown to work more quickly than traditional methods.
Students remain in a given learning module (listening, reading, writing, or advanced) for as long as needed to develop sufficient proficiency as indicated by a passing score on the assessment – usually from 1 to 4 months. In this way, students develop their English language ability based on a solid foundation of previously acquired skills. Students may also skip a module or modules if their assessment score indicates that additional focus on that language skill is not necessary.
Exiting the Intensive English Program
Students remain in the IEP until they can demonstrate via their listening, reading, writing and speaking performance that they are ready for rigorous academic study in English. A combination of formal standardized testing, student grades and informal assessment is used to determine student readiness to begin academic study.
Focal Skills Assessments and Grading
Upon arrival and at the end of each 4-week block, all students’ English proficiency is assessed using one or more standardized assessments. These tests are used to determine placement within the IEP and to determine when students are ready to progress to the next Focal Skills module. Scores on these tests do not contribute to student grades, which are based primarily on participation, attendance and homework completion.