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English as a Second or Additional Language (Policy)

Office of Origin: Academic Affairs
Responsibility: Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, ESL Program Specialist
Date Adopted: 01-27-98
Date Reviewed: 10-31-2017
Last Date Board Approved: 10-21-2020

All prospective non-immigrant international students seeking a degree or certificate program at Lake Michigan College must demonstrate English for Academic Purposes (EAP) proficiency as part of the admissions and F1 visa application process1. Additionally, prospective residential students whose first or dominant language is not English must demonstrate EAP proficiency as part of enrollment. From here on, both international and residential students whose first or dominant language is not English will be referred to as English Language Learners (ELLs).

Determining English for Academic Purposes Language Proficiency

LMC is aware that the college readiness assessment instruments designed for students whose first language is English do not adequately assess the language skills of students whose first language is not English. Therefore, the college requires ELLs to demonstrate language proficiency by taking one of the following international standardized EAP language exams (or other standardized assessment approved by the director of ESL Program Specialist) at an approved testing site prior to or during their application to LMC. In some cases, ELLs may be exempt from taking these standardized tests (see Exemptions from standardized EAP language proficiency testing section within this document).

Published by Educational Testing Service

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program for English as a Foreign Language)

Published by Cambridge Assessment English

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)


Published by Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments


  • MET (Michigan English Test)

Published by Pearson

  • PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English Academic)

Score reports of these tests must be sent from the test provider itself. It is the responsibility of the student applicant to contact the test provider to send a score report to LMC directly. Digital or photocopied copies of score reports sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

Minimum Cut Scores for Standardized Language Proficiency Tests

Given the academic rigor and expectations of first-year classes at Lake Michigan College, degree-seeking ELLs will need to demonstrate a minimum language proficiency level of B2 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) scale2 in order to study at LMC without formal language support (e.g., EAP courses and/or co-requisites). All three academic language proficiency tests listed above are either linked or aligned to the CEFR, and the minimum cut scores suggested by the College reflect a minimum B2 level overall proficiency (as researched and published by Educational Testing Service3).

Exemptions from standardized EAP language proficiency testing

If an ELL has (a) attended a US high school for four years and graduated from a US high school, or (b) satisfactorily completed one full academic year at a college or university in the U.S. as a full-time student without taking any ESL classes, or (c) earned an accredited bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in the U.S., or is (d) from a country where English is one of the official languages (e.g., Canada, Australia, Malta, Malawi, etc.), they might be exempt from taking a standardized test to demonstrate EAP language proficiency prior to or while applying to LMC.

Non-degree-seeking ELLs

Depending on language needs and educational goals, ELLs not looking to enroll in a degree program at LMC may not need demonstrate EAP language proficiency in order to enroll for a course. Non-immigrant and residential ELL applicants looking to take English language-only courses offered by the College, such as the EAP academic bridge courses and/or community education ESL courses, will need to take English language proficiency assessments as specified by the ESL Program Specialist, to determine enrollment eligibility and class level placement within the language-only courses. See ESL Handbook for more information.

Non-immigrant or residential ELLs who want to audit an academic course for no credit will need to demonstrate the ability to meet E, M, and R pre-requisites specific to the course. See the Registration Policy for more information.

Sub-score minimum cut scores for full matriculation to a degree or certificate program and/or placement purposes within EAP courses offered at LMC

It is rare that a language learner demonstrates a consistent CEFR level of proficiency for all the subskills (e.g., speaking, listening, writing, and reading) tested within these exams. It is common for learners to have a jagged profile, meaning that the learner demonstrates a higher level of proficiency in receptive skills (listening and reading) in comparison to productive skills (speaking and writing). For this reason, an applicant’s subskill scores on these standardized tests will be considered by the College when evaluating a student’s score report (see the Guide to Testing, Placement and Mobility for Transitional Studies and Mathematics Courses document).

If an applicant required to take standardized EAP language proficiency testing earns the minimum overall cut score but does not meet a minimum cut score for one of the subskills within the test, then Multiple Measures may be implemented to make an admissions decision. These multiple measures could include, but are not limited to, having an oral interview with the ESL Program Specialist, submitting SAT verbal scores (if taken by the applicant), obtaining another writing sample from the applicant, or some other additional language production measure deemed appropriate by the ESL Program Specialist.


  1. Department of Homeland Security Study in the States: Form I-20 English Proficiency Guidance
  2. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) global descriptors from Council of Europe
  3. Educational Testing Service: Compare TOEFL® Scores


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