About your English Skills Assessment for Placement in a Communications (COMM) Course
About your English Skills Assessment for Placement in a Communications (COMM) Course
Centennial College is committed to supporting students to successfully complete their academic programs and achieve their career goals. In your studies, you will critically engage with a variety of curriculum materials, textbooks, research articles and more, and your preparedness in academic writing and communication is key to your success in school and in your future career. Once you have accepted an offer into a certificate or diploma program, the College administers an English Skills Assessment called Accuplacer to determine the first Communications course you will need to take. By ensuring that you start in the Communications (COMM) course level that most closely matches your language proficiency, you will be better positioned to succeed across all of the courses in your program.
We appreciate that assessments can be stressful, and please know that Accuplacer is not like other assessments or exams. There is no “pass”,” fail” or “grade” in the Accuplacer assessment – the results automatically match you to the appropriate Communications course. The Accuplacer assessment is adaptive, meaning that the questions change (that is, the questions get “harder” or “easier”) based on your responses throughout the assessment. In working with students and administering Accuplacer at Centennial College for over 12 years, we have found that this is the most reliable way to ensure that you get the best possible start to your academic program.
You probably have questions about Accuplacer and the assessment process, and we’ve prepared the following “Frequently Asked Questions” to give some additional information and guidance. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll respond within 24 hours. Additionally you can contact your program Success Advisor or our Centre for Accessible Learning and Counselling Services (CALCS) at email@example.com.
IELTS, TOEFL and other internationally recognized English language proficiency assessments are used for admissions purposes only. They are valid for 2 years. Often students take an IELTS or another proficiency assessment well in advance of their application, acceptance and registration and we know that language proficiency skills can change during this period. Also, many students prepare for taking high stakes proficiency assessments which may improve their scores on the assessment day without improving their overall proficiency level. The scores on Accuplacer have been aligned to the College Communications courses and therefore are the most reliable match for placement for student success.
We use an internationally recognized assessment called Accuplacer. Accuplacer is an assessment used by over 5,000 Colleges, Institutions and Universities all around the world.
Excellent English Listening, Reading Comprehension, and Writing skills are important to succeed in programs at Centennial College and in your career. The English Skills Assessment is used to place you into the appropriate Communications course depending upon your skill level. It is a placement assessment that provides a ‘picture’ of each of your skills in the areas of Listening, Reading and Writing. Your responses to the student background questions are used to decide if you should be in the English as a Second Language (ESL) or Non-ESL stream.
Our computer adaptive Accuplacer assessment, uses a multiple-choice question format for Listening and Reading. WritePlacer®, which assessments Writing skills, is an essay assessment.
- Listening component: The Listening assessment measures your ability to listen to and understand one or more people speaking in English. Conversations take place in a wide range of locations including lecture halls, grocery stores, and libraries.
- Reading component: The Reading assessment measures your ability to derive meaning from a range of texts and to determine the meaning of words and phrases in short and extended contexts. Passages in the assessment cover a range of content areas, writing modes, and complexities. Both single and paired passages are included.
- Writing component: The WritePlacer essay measures your ability to write effectively, which is critical to your academic success. Your score is based on your ability to express, organize, and support your opinions and ideas. The position you take on the essay topic does not affect your score.
Normally you would come to the Assessment Centre at the College to take your assessment or choose to take the assessment online. The College provides online proctoring at no cost to you should you choose to take Accuplacer online.
However, note that during COVID-19, all students must take the English Skills Assessment online. You will be provided a voucher with instructions about taking the assessment once you have confirmed your Offer of Admission.
There is no time limit on our Listening and Reading components, so you can focus on doing your best to demonstrate your skills. The Writing component has a limit of 60 minutes. The average completion time is approximately two and a half hours in total.
Accuplacer uses the latest computer-adaptive technology, which means the questions you see are based on your personal skill level. Your response to each question determines the difficulty level of the next question.
A multi-factored formula (algorithm) is used to determine your Communications course level. The scoring for Accuplacer is highly complex – there is no “grade” assigned based on performance. Immediately after you complete your Accuplacer assessment session, you will be matched to the appropriate Communications course for your demonstrated language proficiency. We do not provide individual scores for any of the listening, reading and writing assessments because your individual assessment scores are assessed all together to match you to your overall Communications course placement.
The Assessment Centre sends a message to the email address you provided on assessment day. The message states your placement level in a Communications course and may recommend you see a PASS Advisor (Placement Advice for Student Success). Your course placement result is usually available within two business days.
This means that you have scored at a Communications course level which is below the starting level of your program’s model route (your program of study). A PASS Advisor will explain the options available for you. You can decide to continue with your studies but will need to take one or more additional Communications courses or you may choose to register in a Foundations Programs in your field of studies which will allow you to complete your communication course requirements and earn credits for program related courses.
Accuplacer is a computer-adaptive assessment, used for placement purposes, unlike other types of achievement or progress assessments, so there is no appeal process. However, you may wish to discuss the result of your Pre-Course Writing sample (see FAQ Question #9) with your professor. Depending on your Pre-Course Writing Sample, your professor may recommend a change in placement to the Chair of the English Department who will review and confirm if warranted. Please note that the decision of your professor is final.
We understand that no assessment or assessment is perfect. During the first week of classes, English professors follow up with a Pre-Course Writing Sample that validates the outcome of your Accuplacer assessment. Based on your writing proficiency, your professor may recommend to the Chair of the English Department that you move up to the next course level or switch between the ESL and non-ESL stream or from the non-ESL stream to the ESL stream, This is a why it is so important for you to attend your Communications class during the first week of the semester.
As this is a one-time assessment and can’t be retaken, the best thing way to prepare is come to the assessment well rested and having eaten a healthy meal or snack. Book your assessment on a day when you are not rushed and can focus on the assessment.
As there is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ given, and that the assessment will adapt to your answers, try to be as relaxed as you can and give each question as much thought as you need before selecting your answer.
We also provide study guides which we recommend you review before taking the assessment so that you can review what to expect and what kinds of questions you will be asked. They are available here.
We recognize that students are impacted in many ways by the ongoing COVID 19 Pandemic and may require other forms of academic and general support as they navigate their College experience. You can access the many supports identified above (and more) through the Experience Centennial APP (download information).
For all the latest COVID-19 Information, please regularly check the Centennial College website banner.