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National Chung Hsing University: Using a mobile English test to place students onto courses

National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) is one of the largest national universities in central Taiwan with around 15,500 students.

At NCHU, English isn’t just part of the curriculum, it’s seen as a core mechanism for student learning and the EMI (English as Medium of Instruction) Centre is key in facilitating this. The University provides tiered English learning for all students and specialised English courses in their discipline once they reach a more advanced level. 

By doing so, the University is also making positive steps to support the Ministry of Education’s target for 50% of graduates to achieve a CEFR level of B2 or above by 2030.

We spoke to Dr. Yi-Ying Chiou, Director of the Center of EMI at National Chung Hsing University, to understand exactly what led him to choose EnglishScore and how the University is using the mobile test to accurately assess students’ English levels for placement.

 

The challenge

 

The EMI Centre has a clear goal that all students should be able to use English in their specialised field of study. However, their current methods of assessing students’ English weren’t supporting the high-quality education delivered by the faculty.

Director Chiou explains the accuracy and logistical challenges the EMI Centre faced regarding their current means of English assessment:

“Most tests available on the market are mainly focused on reading and listening skills and require students to travel to a test centre, often on the weekend. Students pay for the assessment which the EMI Centre reimburses.”

 

The action

 

With these constraints in mind, Director Chiou and his team decided to look for an English assessment that would enable his team to accurately test thousands of students’ English across multiple skills.

By joining British Council EnglishScore’s Approved Partner Programme, Director Chiou is able to offer students a convenient and accessible way to assess their English, whilst saving the faculty on the administrative cost of arranging external and internal in-person tests.

NCHU also incentivised students to take EnglishScore with an award scheme:

  • Students who achieve B1 or above received a Certificate
  • Students with B2 or above received additional gift vouchers 

NCHU hopes that a reward scheme will continue to motivate students to proactively participate in the English proficiency tests.

 

The result

 

Director Chiou explains that for universities promoting EMI and bilingual education in the school, accurately assessing students’ English is the biggest challenge. “If we simply put students in a bilingual course in their specialised subjects, it will be very difficult for them and could negatively impact their learning outcomes. 

EnglishScore provides us with the foundational assessment needed to ensure students receive the correct level of tuition and that their performance is accurately monitored.”

By partnering with EnglishScore, the faculty no longer needs to arrange external tests which were inconvenient, costly and time-consuming for students and staff.

The EMI faculty at NCHU is successfully making forward steps to improving the processes and quality of English assessment at the University, delivering on the goals set for student learning and helping the Government reach its bilingual target for 2030.