Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

ESL Entrance Proficiency Assessment

Program: Carnegie Institute of Technology, College of Fine Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mellon College of Science, School of Computer Science, Tepper School of Business
Assessment: ESL Entrance Proficiency Assessment


Departments and programs often admit international students who have exceptional credentials but who score low on standardized language tests. As a result, many entering international students may not have sufficient proficiency in English to succeed in the university’s required general education courses. This entrance assessment is intended to determine entering international students’ potential to succeed in these general education courses and to place students in writing courses appropriate to their proficiency levels.


All entering international students take a web-based English proficiency assessment during the summer prior to their matriculation.


Students who score well on the assessment are considered highly proficient and are placed in the traditional freshman writing course (76-101: Interpretation and Argument). Students who score lower on the assessment are considered less proficient and are placed in a more basic writing course (76-100: Reading and Writing in an Academic Context); these students must pass this basic writing course before taking the traditional freshman writing course.


Giving international students who have lower proficiency in English the opportunity to gain proficiency before taking general education courses helps them thrive in the classroom. A major challenge in this approach, however, is that these students must complete an additional course and may take longer to graduate.

CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!