ESL Level Descriptions

ESL Level Descriptions
Level 1: Beginning
This student is often a new arrival with little previous English training and --this is the key -- a very limited vocabulary. This student is lost in the classroom and has nothing on which to base his ability to function, comprehend, and respond. The student has no knowledge of English beyond answers to simple questions like “What’s your name?” They may respond with “yes” or “no,” but not always consistently or correctly. They may not be able to write in Western script. They lack sufficient vocabulary and oral comprehension to be able to follow directions or do simple classroom assignments. These students may have no knowledge of the American classroom and its participatory style. They are not able to work at grade level, even if they are placed in first or second grade.
Level 2: High Beginning
This student can understand some classroom directions and attempts to do simple assignments but with great hesitancy and misunderstanding. Vocabulary is still greatly limited to commonly-used words. They read and write with great difficulty, usually below the assigned grade level. This student may be unable to respond to some activities which involve independent decision making, due to differences in the American classroom or teacher style. This student responds very positively to extra attention from the instructor or other students.
Level 3: Intermediate
This student participates in most classroom activities and follows directions adequately, though with frequent misunderstandings. Vocabulary is limited but rapidly improving. They may feel comfortable enough in the classroom to respond orally, despite frequent errors and incorrect word selection. This student may be able to do academic work close to grade level but needs frequent writing and vocabulary support. They exhibit growing confidence in their ability to comprehend and respond in English.
Level 4: High Intermediate
This student easily participates in classroom and social activities, constantly adding to their knowledge of vocabulary, westen culture, and teacher expectations. Their speech still exhibits a considerable accent, but grammar and vocabulary errors should be receding. The students' English is changing rapidly at this point, and their confidence level should be increasing at the same rate.
Level 5: Advanced
This student is able to participate and excel in all classroom and social activities, requiring less frequent teacher intervention with vocabulary and directional assistance. They should be able to read at near-grade level with the help of a dictionary, but writing skills may require more teacher support. A noticeable accent may still be present. This student can function adequately at grade level and often does extremely well because of a high motivation level.