By Sangmin Lee
English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) courses have been provided since 1980 at Columbia College. Columbia College is currently providing six ESOL courses. Three are intermediate courses, and the others are advanced-level courses.
Lizbeth Metscher, instructor and coordinator of ESOL courses, said, “The purpose of this program is to get international students prepared to be college students with American students and to pursue a degree at Columbia College successfully.”
The college decided to change the requirements because the beginning level of the ESOL course is not offered at Columbia College. Wright said they have seen students who really needed the beginning level of the ESOL program. By requiring a standardized English proficiency exam score, they know that students have the basic knowledge of English. Then, students will be assigned to intermediate or advanced-level courses according to their English proficiency exam scores. Therefore, students can be successful in Columbia College’s program. “Otherwise, if they came here as a beginning-level student, the students were not performing very well academically, and they were having a really difficult time,” Wright said.
As the number of international students increases, demand for ESOL courses also increases every semester. Some international students who wanted to take ESOL courses struggled because there were no seats for them. Sunmi Jin, an international student who is taking the ESOL courses, said, “There are just two levels of ESOL courses. However, some students want to take a beginning level course, and others want to take higher-level course than advanced courses.” Jin said she hopes more ESOL courses will be opened. “Besides the current English grammar or listening classes, if conversation classes are made, that will be great,” Jin also said.
The ESOL courses have an external program review every five years. The Humanities Department is considering developing the beginning-level course. “It has been suggested for a long time that we have a beginning level,” Metscher said. However, until the beginning-level course is created, students will be required to have some type of standardized English score.
Photo by Sangmin Lee
ESOL course: Speaking and Listening II