With a background in providing English training for corporations including Apple, Starbucks and Intel, the company is aiming to improve student retention at US universities by bridging the gap between stellar entrance exam results and poor classroom participation.
“You hear the story all the time of the international student that gets great grades, they’re acing the tests. But then during that lecture they’ll never jump in and answer a question,” commented Jon Cheney, Vice President of Business Development at English 3.
“We’re trying to level the playing field and allow these international students the chance to really contribute”
“I think it’s because they just don’t understand. They need education on how to participate and that’s what we’re doing– we’re trying to level the playing field and allow these international students the chance to really contribute and make a difference.”
English 3’s American Classroom Readiness course is offered online, to students in their home countries after being accepted to university but before arriving on campus.
It prepares students to adapt to the norms of an American classroom by presenting them with real life scenarios including writing essays, classroom discussions, how to work in groups and how to give a presentation.
Introduced this spring, Cheney said interest has been high. “The demand is incredible, both from the student side and the school side. Schools know that international students are struggling.”
Accurately measuring a student’s level of spoken English is the goal of the entrance exam the company has developed. Unlike video-interviews used as add-ons to admission applications, Cheney said the exam can be used in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.
The exam tests students’ ability to use the language in writing or by speaking through asking open ended questions. “If they don’t know how to speak English, they can’t cheat on that. They’re going to have to produce,” said Cheney.
Results are scored on a scale from 0-100 and are comparable to graduation systems of more widely used exams.