Digital Process Streamlines Placement Exams for International Students

by Melissa S. Treacy

It is now a lot easier for international students to apply for acceptance and placement at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC). Thanks to a newly streamlined program at the college’s Testing Center, the entire process can be done online.

“Previously, students would take the computer-based placement test and write a pen-and-paper essay,” explained Nicole Henderson, director of the Testing and Placement at the Testing Center. “It is now 100 percent computer-based assessment, all done online.”

Henderson said that the digital process allows for scores to be produced instantly, providing the student and the college with immediate results.

“We used to have the essay graded by faculty,” said Henderson. “It could delay the process up to a week.”

The new process only started in August, but the Center has already seen positive results.

“It has been amazing so far,” said Henderson. “The students enjoy it, and it helps them a lot. They know the results immediately, and they know their placement as well.”

Knowing their scores almost immediately, students are able to enroll in classes much quicker. Due to the saved time, fewer students are denied access due to full classrooms or class canceled do to low enrollment.

While they have not yet tried it, Henderson also said the exams can be done remotely, meaning at some point, a student may be able to gain acceptance and placement taking the test from another country.

The newly streamlined steps also included the addition of testing for addition of testing for TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, and IELTS, International English Language Testing System.

“It is a nationally recognized English language proficiency test,” said Henderson. “Most universities and colleges in the U.S. and around the world use the tests as part of the admission process.

MCCC’s prospective international students who apply from overseas will need to provide either TOEFL or IELTS tests scores for college admissions,  as well as for ESL placement purposes. With this new testing option, international students will be able to select courses and make academic plans before they arrive in the U.S. This new testing policy will also ease the visa process for foreign applicants.

“Currently, we are looking at becoming an ETS Certified Test administration site, so that we can offer the TOEFL onsite. If a student takes it through MCCC, they would not have to then retake it later,” explained Henderson. “We are excited about these new initiatives that enable us to improve our admissions process and help us to better communicate with prospective students.”

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Testing Center, visit mc3.edu/academics/test.aspx.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on the College’s Think Success blog.

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