ESL Program

ESL at Luther College High School

Luther College has an excellent reputation for developing students’ academic skills so that they are well prepared for post-secondary studies. Therefore, the objective of our ESL program is to equip international students with the requisite English language skills for finding academic success both at Luther and at a post-secondary institution of their choosing. 

Due to the strong emphasis on academics found at Luther, international students coming with a credit in English from another institution may not be able to succeed in Luther’s regular English classes. The same applies to other humanities classes including History and Christian Ethics. Students studying in an academic environment typically need a lot of language support, and because of this fact, Luther provides ample English language support for our international students, both in the classroom and one-on-one, until they have reached a proficiency level where they can find academic success on their own. The placement of international students in both ESL and mainstream courses is based on the results of a language assessment that all non-native English speakers must complete over Skype before attending Luther.

Skype Assessments and the Admissions Process

All international students who do not speak English as their first language must complete an online English language assessment via Skype, which is the initial stage in the application process. This assessment is approximately two hours long and consists of an interview and separate writing, reading, and listening tests. Luther uses the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to determine which language proficiency level a student is at. We currently accept students whose proficiency level is at CEFR B1 or higher.

Students who test at the Beginner level (CEFR A1 and A2) will not be accepted into Luther College. These students lack the requisite language skills to function at Luther College not only academically but also in daily life. Students may reapply at a later date but must reach an Intermediate level (CEFR B1 or higher) to be able to function and study at our high school campus.

For information on the Intermediate Level (CEFR B1), Advanced Level (CDFR B2) and Higher Level (CEFR C1), or choose from the menu on the left side of the webpage.

Important to Remember:

  1. All students planning to graduate from Luther College are required to study one Christian Ethics class per year of study at Luther.  Exceptions are possible if students have recognized credits in Christian Ethics at another institution prior to attending Luther College.  For Intermediate and Advanced Level ESL students the requirement is deferred until the students’ English comprehension is sufficient to study and participate in the Christian Ethics curriculum.
  2. We believe that involvement in the school community is essential for the linguistic and personal growth of our international students. Therefore, a major component of our ESL programming is something called Opportunities for Practicing English (OFPE), a series of assignments that measure student integration into the community at Luther.  Students are evaluated on their English language “practice” efforts and involvement in the co–curricular and community life at Luther College.  For example, students may join an athletic team or student club, or participate in the running the school’s annual musical (just a few of many options) then, based on this involvement, students submit an assignment in which they provide an analysis of their English speaking experience.
  3. Student attendance for both ESL classes and one-on-one tutorials is critical and will be one of the determining factors in whether or not a student passes into either the next level of ESL or graduate from the ESL program.

Objective for Woodcock - Munoz Language Survey
Luther College believes it is important to continually assess the needs of our students so that we continually improve upon the curriculum used in our ESL classrooms. To better assess the needs of our students, the ESL department has begun to use the Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey Revised (WMLS-R). The WMLS-R has been designed to measure the language proficiency of English language learners as well as the cognitive-academic language proficiency of students. It assesses picture vocabulary, verbal analogies, letter-word identification, and dictation as measures of oral language, reading, and writing domains. At Luther College High School, the ESL department is utilizing the WMLS-R pre- and post-test model as a comprehensive assessment battery to aid in the planning of instructional programs, for evaluating program effectiveness, and for monitoring student progress. Students will partake in the pre-test upon arrival, and the post-test in the spring of each academic year while attending Luther College High School.