Intensive English Program - Course Description

Instruction, Proficiency Levels, and Student Learning Outcomes

The pre-academic IEP curriculum is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).  For a detailed understanding of the CEFR, you can consult this document.  The CEFR is designed to allow language programs flexibility in meeting the individual or profiled group needs of their students.  The UWM IEP divides four CEFR macro-levels (A1, A2, B1, B2) into three sub-levels each (low, mid and high).  The IEP curriculum emphasizes 6 communicative modes: Reading, Written Interaction, Written Production, Interactive Speaking, Interactive Listening and Productive Speaking.  Below is a description of each of the course level goals for each of these modes:

Reading

  • Students successfully completing the A1 course level can understand short, simple texts on familiar matters of a concrete type which consist of highfrequency everyday language.
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course levelcan read straightforward factual texts on subjects related to their interest with asatisfactory level of comprehension.
  • Students successfully completing the B1course level can read with independence, using a broad active reading vocabulary in all but low frequency words and idioms, adapting style and speed of reading to different texts and purposes, and using appropriate reference sources selectively.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can read lengthy, complex texts with a large degree of independence, using a broad active reading vocabulary in all but low frequency words and idioms, adapting style and speed of reading to different texts and purposes, and using appropriate reference sources selectively.


Written Interaction

  • Students successfully completing the A1 course level can write short, simple formulaic notes relating to matters in areas of immediate need.
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course level can write personal letters and notes asking for and conveying information and ideas on abstract as well as concrete topics; can check information and ask about or explain problems with reasonable precision, getting across the point they feel is important.
  • Students successfully completing the B1 course level can convey information and ideas on abstract as well as concrete topics, check information and ask about or explain problems with reasonable precision; can write personal letters and notes asking for or conveying simple information of immediate relevance, getting across the point he/she feels to be important.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can express news and views effectively in writing, and relate to those of others.


Written Production

  • Students successfully completing the A1 course level can write about everyday aspects of their environment, e.g. people, places, a job or study experience using a series of simple phrases and sentences linked with simple connectors like 'and', 'but' and 'because.' 
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course level can write straightforward connected sentences on a range of familiar subjects, by linking a series of shorter discrete elements into a linear sequence.
  • Students successfully completing the B1 course level can write straightforward connected texts on a range of familiar subjects within their fields of interest, by linking a series of shorter discrete elements into a linear sequence.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can write clear, detailed texts on a variety of subjects related to their fields of interest, synthesizing and evaluating information and arguments from a number of sources.


Interactive Speaking

  • Students successfully completing the A1 course level can interact with reasonable ease in structured situations and short conversations, initiate and respond to simple statements, ask and answer questions and exchange ideas and information – all this provided topics are familiar, situations are predictable, tasks are simple and routine, and interlocutor speech rate is slow and accommodative.
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course levelcan exploit a wide range of simple language to deal with most familiar situations and can enter unprepared into conversation on familiar topics, express personal opinions andexchange information on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g.family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).
  • Students successfully completing the B1 course level can communicate with some confidence on familiar routine and non-routine matters related to his/her interests; can exchange, check and confirm information, deal with less routine situations and explain why something is a problem; can express thoughts on more abstract, cultural topics such as films, books, music etc.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of general, academic, vocational or leisure topics, marking clearly the relationships between ideas; they can also communicate spontaneously with good grammatical control, minimally restricting what they want to say, and adopting a level of formality appropriate to circumstances.


Interactive Listening

  • Students successfully completing the A1 course level can understand enough to be able to meet needs of a concrete type (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography,) and can understand phrases and expressions related to familiar topics, provided speech is clearly and slowly articulate.
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course can understand straightforward general messages and specific details of information concerning familiar matters regularly encountered in everyday matters of work, school and leisure.
  • Students successfully completing the B1 course can understand the main ideas of propositionally and linguistically complex speech on both concrete and abstract topics, and follow extended speech and complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar, and the direction of the talk is sign-posted by explicit markers.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can understand spoken language, live or broadcast, on both familiar and unfamiliar topics normally encountered in personal, social, academic or vocational life with comprehension difficulty arising only from extreme background noise, inadequate discourse structure and/or idiomatic usage.


Productive Speaking

  • Students successfully completing A1 course level can write about everyday aspects of his/her environment, e.g. people, places, a job or study experience using a series of simple phrases and sentences linked with simple connectors like 'and', 'but' and 'because.'
  • Students successfully completing the A2 course level can write straightforward connected sentences on a range of familiar subjects, bylinking a series of shorter discrete elements into a linear sequence.
  • Students successfully completing the B1 course level can write straightforward connected texts on a range of familiar subjects within their fields of interest, by linking a series of shorter discrete elements into a linear sequence.
  • Students successfully completing the B2 course level can give clear, systematically developed, detailed descriptions and presentations on complex subjects, while integrating sub-themes, developing particular points, adding relevant supporting detail and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.

Students move through their course sequence based on how many of the student learning outcomes they have achieved.  Students at the "Low" sub-level have demonstrated that they can meet all of the learning outcomes for their level descriptions, while showing only minimal evidence of meeting any learning outcomes for the next higher level.  Put another way, these students have established a solid "floor" at their level, and are now beginning to develop a small piece of the next level, which represents their current "ceiling."

Students at the "Mid" sub-level demonstrate that they meet all of the learning outcomes from their current level description, while also showing evidence of meeting between one-third and two-thirds of the outcomes for the next higher level.  Put another way, these students have a solid "floor" and their "ceiling" -- the next level up -- has developed a good deal, but also still needs a good deal of work.

Students at the "High" sub-level demonstrate that they meet all the learning outcomes for their current level description, while also showing evidence of meeting a high percentage (70-90%) of the outcomes for the next higher level.  Put another way, these students have a solid "floor" and have almost completed work on the next level up, which will become their new floor once they have filled in the remaining gaps.

The graphic below shows, then, how students generally progress through the program in a give language mode :

Hierarchy -- Competencies-Outcomes


Courses are taught in two-month units, although new students are also accepted at 1-month intervals.   For course start and end dates, go here.   During the 8-week session students take:
  • 3 core classes with emphases on modes outlined above:  1) Reading and Written Interaction 2) Interactive Speaking, Interactive Listening and Productive Listening and 3) Productive Writing and Speaking
  • 1 elective class, taught in two-week units, with topics intended to help students get extra work in the modes where they feel they need the most practice.
For a total of 20 hours of instruction per week. Classes meet every day, Monday through Friday.

Student Assessment and Placement

Student assessment is continuous, with instructors gathering evidence over the 8-week course session.  Decisions on advancement through the program take place at the mid-point and end-point of each semester.  

Student placement is done through Oxford English Testing

When an application is completed, students will receive an e-mail instructing them on how to take the test remotely.  

In the first days of classes, a student placement verification will be done, to ensure that the Oxford results are correct.