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SMC|Enrollment Development|Assessment|English Assessment

English Assessment

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Is the English Assessment Required?

English (or in some cases the ESL) assessment is required of all new first-time college students attending Santa Monica College and of all students who wish to enroll in an English or ESL course for the first time.

 

Should I Take the English or the ESL Assessment?

If you are a native English speaker or attended junior and senior high school in the United States, we strongly recommend that you take the English Assessment. This test is best suited to assess your skills. The ESL test has been designed for English learner students coming from other countries who did not complete high school in the U.S.

What is the Purpose of the English Assessment?

The purpose of the English assessment is to assess your reading and writing skills. Results will inform you if you are ready to undertake college-level work or if you need to further develop your skills. Based on your results, you will be placed into a level of English appropriate to your skill level. In this manner your probability of success will be increased.

What Determines Success in English?

One of the most important measures is your current skill level is reading and writing. We also recognize the importance of study skills, time management skills, previous grades in English and/or ESL, completion of course prerequisites, motivation, the length of time since your last ESL class, and/or the length of time since your last ESL class in your country.

What is the name of the English assessment test?

SMC uses the ACCUPLACER battery of tests to assess students' skills in reading, grammar, writing, etc. All students will start with the Reading Comprehension test and then complete the Sentence Skills test. Given the adaptive nature of the tests, you will initially get an item of intermediate difficulty. From there, if you answer correctly you will be given an item of greater difficulty which is valued with more points. If you get it wrong, you will get an item of lesser difficulty, which is valued with fewer points. If you want to maximize your chances of placing into a college-level English class it is crucial you perform well in the first few questions you see.

What skills are assessed by the ACCUPLACER English tests?

The ACCUPLACER English assessment tests measure a variety of skills. These are:

Sentence Skills

There are 20 Sentence Skills questions of two types.

  • The first type is sentence correction questions that require an understanding of sentence structure. These questions ask you to choose the most appropriate word or phrase to substitute for the underlined portion of the sentence.
  • The second type is construction shift questions. These questions ask that a sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

Within these two primary categories, the questions are also classified according to the skills being tested. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, others with whether or not the answer is a complete sentence, and still others with the relationship between coordination and subordination.

Reading Comprehension

There are 20 questions of two primary types on the Reading Comprehension test.

  • The first type consists of a reading passage followed by a question based on the text. Both short and long passages are provided. The reading passages can also be classified according to the kind of information processing required including explicit statements related to the main idea, explicit statements related to a secondary idea, application, and inference.
  • The second type of question, sentence relationships, presents two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. The question may ask, for example, if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.

How can I best prepare for the English assessment?

There are a variety of ways on how you can prepare to take the English assessment. Consider reviewing the websites noted below. Some of these will describe the tests in detail, provide you with review materials, sample questions and quizzes, and others will show you concrete strategies on how to approach a given type of question. We strongly advise you to read and practice before coming to take your placement test.

 

Test Taking Tips for English Assessment


  • Process of Elimination in Reading and Writing Multiple Choice Questions
    This site explains through examples how to use the POE (process of elimination) method in a reading and writing multiple choice test to increase your chances at arriving at an educated guess. While the examples are not from the ACCUPLACER English assessment, the process is the same.