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English Language Proficiency Testing

Placement Testing

One of the roles of the ELP is to evaluate the proficiency levels of incoming graduate students who are non-native speakers of English. To do this, the ELP is required to test the following students:

·          Students who score a 28 or below on the Speaking sub-section of the TOEFL iBT

·          Students who score an 8 or below on the Speaking section of the IELTS 

The placement test is a face-to-face conversation between a student and an ELP instructor. It is designed to determine the student’s ability to use English effectively and appropriately in real-life situations. During the interview, the student is asked to respond to questions about his/her interests and experiences and to offer opinions about topics of personal or general interest. The interview may also include a role-play in which the student is asked to engage in a conversation about a possible, but not actual situation. The interview takes between 20-30 minutes and is recorded.  

The proficiency levels on the placement test are as follows:

ELP Rating
ELP Opportunities or Requirements
Follow-up Testing
     
Advanced

No ELP courses required

ELP support available at any time during academic career:

  • ELP Discussion Groups
  • ELP Workshops
  • No further testing required

         
         

    High Intermediate

    ELP course required during 
    Fall semester

    Course includes:

  • 3 hours of class work
  • 1-hour weekly meeting with an undergraduate conversation partner
  • POPT in January (during reading period) upon successful completion of Fall semester

    If students don’t pass POPT continued ELP course work required

         
         
    Intermediate

    ELP course required during Fall semester.

    Course includes:

  • 3 hours of class work
  • 1-hour weekly meeting with an undergraduate conversation partner
  • POPT in January (during reading period) upon successful completion of Fall semester

    If students don’t pass POPT continued ELP course work required

         
         

    Low Intermediate

    ELP course required during Fall and Spring semesters

    Course includes:

  • 3 hours of classwork
  • 45-minute weekly meeting with an ELP instructor
  • 1-hour weekly meeting with an undergraduate conversation partner
  • POPT in May (during reading period) upon successful completion of 2 semesters of ELP courses

    If students don’t pass POPT continued ELP course work required


    Princeton Oral Proficiency Test

    The Princeton Oral Proficiency Test (POPT) is given to students once they have completed at least one semester of ELP coursework.  The POPT evaluates oral proficiency by focusing on the specific activities common to teaching at Princeton.  Students give brief presentations to undergraduate students and are expected to respond to questions asked by the undergraduates.  In addition to the presentation, the graduate student participates in an informal discussion with an undergraduate.  Faculty members from the graduate student’s department are invited to observe.


    The Graduate School and Departmental Policies

    The English Language Program follows guidelines established by the Graduate School . The Graduate School 's Policy Concerning English Language Proficiency can be found at gradschool.princeton.edu/academics/policies/elp.

    It is important that you contact your department to learn its policy regarding the time frame in which you are expected to pass POPT.