Five Tips for Effective Use of the Testing Center by International Students

Deciding whether or not to give international students extra time for testing is a tricky choice for instructors. International students who are admitted directly to their major programs have all met Webster's standard for language proficiency and should have strong academic English skills. The reality is that even students who are functioning in a second language at a very high level still need more processing time in writing and testing situations. Language learning is an ongoing process that doesn't stop once a student exits an English as a Second Language program. Following are some tips for referring international students to the testing center so instructors can support them without compromising academic rigor in their classes.

  1. If professors would like to give their international students extra time on tests, they should consider simply giving the entire class more time on a test. That way the international students don't feel singled out and there is no perception of bias.
  2. If international students seem to be struggling with time on all of their tests and projects throughout a semester or term, professors can contact the ESL Director and arrange for an evaluation of the student's language capabilities and study skills. The student may have appropriate language skills but not be using effective test taking techniques.
  3. Professors can allow students to use paper dictionaries on a writing-based test. They can be translation or English-to-English. This type of dictionary is allowed in the testing center. If international students are used to using their phones for translation in the classroom it is a disadvantage because they will not be able to use them in the testing center.
  4. If international students are stressed and distracted by other students leaving the room as they finish testing, professors can consider arranging for the international student to test in the testing center without allowing for extra time.
  5. Some international students do have disability accommodations just as domestic students do. Those students should get all accommodations as indicated in their letter.

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Created with images by Syda Productions - "group of international students with on lecture "

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