The Language and Culture Center has two class schedules: morning and afternoon. Since a morning or afternoon class cannot be guaranteed, students must be prepared to be assigned either schedule. Both schedules include 20 hours per week of classroom instruction.
Each 13 or 14 week term includes:
- One week of registration, orientation, testing and placement, 11 or 12 weeks of instruction, and one week of student activities, final testing and evaluation.
- Placement tests are administered to determine where, among six levels of instruction ranging from beginning (level 1) through upper advanced (level 6), each student can make the best progress.
- Small classes, averaging 12 students per class, are taught by instructors with Master's and Doctoral degrees who have professional experience in teaching English as a second language.
- A computer assisted language learning laboratory has software to provide students with additional practice in basic skills.
- University course observation (not for credit) provides the opportunity to sit in on a class at the University of Houston for one semester to experience the language and culture of a university classroom (levels 5-6).
Each student is enrolled in a Core and a Co-op class, which integrate the language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, along with a grammar component. These classes are taught by teachers with at least a Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) or a related field.
The Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) laboratory uses ESL software and the Internet to provide students with the opportunity to practice and expand upon the skills they learn in their Core and Co-op classes, as well as practice iBT TOEFL test taking skills.
Students entering the program are given a battery of placement tests:
- the CaMLA English Placement Test, an objective, multiple-choice examination that tests listening comprehension, grammar, and reading/vocabulary
- a speaking test
- a half hour writing sample based on a predetermined topic
The three scores are converted to a weighted average score on a 100 point scale. Students are then placed into one of six levels corresponding to their scores.
At the end of each term, students are promoted based on scores consisting of the following:
- classroom final examinations
- the COMPASS® ESL test
- a half hour writing sample based on another predetermined topic
These factors, plus others (e.g., class participation/attendance and course work during the term), go into the final promotion decisions.
Levels of Instruction
The program has six levels of instruction from beginning to advanced:
- Level 1: Lower Beginning
- Level 2: Upper Beginning
- Level 3: Lower Intermediate
- Level 4: Upper Intermediate
- Level 5: Lower Advanced
- Level 6: Upper Advanced
Evaluations and Certificates
Students receive teacher evaluations at midterm and at end-of-term. Students who successfully complete levels 1-5 will be given a Certificate of Successful Completion. This certificate will indicate the level to which the student is promoted. Students who successfully complete level 6 will be given a Graduation Certificate.
Class average is 12 students.