ESL Program Policies

All you need to know about the ESL program expectations and policies.
In this Section

ESLI Grading Policies

Course Grading

Course grades will be assigned on the following basis:

A 97-100% B- 82-84% D+ 70-72%
A- 92-96% C+ 79-81% D 67-69%
B+ 88-91% C 76-78% D- 61-66%
B 85-87% C- 73-75% F 60% or less

A- Outstanding achievement relative course requirements.
B- Achievement significantly above meeting course requirements.
C- Achievement meeting all aspects of course requirements.
D- Achievement worthy of credit but failing to meet fully all course requirements.
S- Satisfactory achievement equivalent to at least a "C-".
F/N- Failure (or no credit) signifying work was either (1) completed but an achievement level not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I.
I- Incomplete assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances (family death, serious illness, military service, employment conflicts, hospitalization, and the like) student detailing work needed to complete to receive a grade.

Moving Up the ESLI Levels

In order to advance, students must achieve a grade of C or better (76%) in a class, averaged over the course of the two quarters that the class runs. If students receive 75% or lower, they will need to repeat the class.

Final course grades reflect students’ performance in their classes on all tests, quizzes, exams, final exams, presentations, discussions, and other assignments, and reflect how well students have met all of the student learning outcomes for the course.

In extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, students who do not pass a class may request the opportunity to re-take the placement test by filling out a Placement Appeal Form and change levels accordingly.

Academic Probation and Dismissal Policy

Students who fail 1-3 ESLI courses in a quarter may be put on academic probation by the ESLI Program Director. Students will be notified in writing when they are placed on probation. While on probation, the student’s progress will be monitored by the ESL Program Director and the student’s ESLI instructors, and reviewed monthly.

If students continue to perform below a satisfactory level in their ESLI classes for 2-3 quarters, they may face dismissal from the ESLI program for at least one semester, after which they can re-apply for admission to the ESLI Program. Students will be notified in writing at the time of their dismissal.

Students may appeal their dismissal status to the University of Wisconsin-Stout Office of International Education Appeal Committee if they feel that they experienced circumstances so unusual and out of the ordinary that their academic performance was significantly and temporarily impacted. Students will receive information about the appeals process in writing at the time of their dismissal.

ESLI Attendance Policies

Attendance Policy

In order to obtain a visa to study in the United States, a foreign student must agree to follow the rules and regulations of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). These regulations state that the student must be enrolled full-time in an established English language program and must attend classes regularly. The UW-Stout ESLI has interpreted “regularly” to mean the maximum absence rates per quarter, indicated in the chart below. By federal law of the United States, the English Language Institute must uphold the rules and regulations of the INS as well as good teaching pedagogy, which recognizes the importance of regular attendance on improvement in a student’s language skill.

Absences are counted on a class session basis. That is, a student who misses one Listening/Speaking class has missed one class session. A student who misses one Listening/Speaking class and one Reading/Writing/Grammar class has missed two class sessions. Absent means not in class for any reason. There are no excused absences. 

Any absence for any reason will count towards the following totals:

 

1st Warning

2nd Warning

Probation

Dismissal

3 credits

2 missed class session

4 missed class sessions

6 missed class session

7th missed class session

4 1/2 credits

3 missed class sessions

6 missed class sessions

9 missed class sessions

10th missed class session

6 credits

4 missed class sessions

8 missed class sessions

12 missed class sessions

13th missed class session

7 1/2 credits

5 missed class sessions

10 missed class sessions

15 missed class sessions

16th missed class session

Late Arrivals/Early Departures from Class

A student who arrives late for class from 10 to 15 minutes after the start of the class is considered late, regardless of the reason for the tardiness. In addition, when students depart class early, before the instructor has dismissed class, that absence will also be recorded. Three such late arrivals/early departures in any one quarter is counted as missing one class session.

Missed Work

Instructors are not required to allow students to make up work that was missed during their absence. However, instructors can allow students to make up missed work if they feel the student had a good reason for the absence. Check with your instructors to find out what their policy is.

If instructors do give a student permission to make up missed work, it is the student’s responsibility to develop an acceptable plan for doing so. If such assignments cannot be made up for any reason, a student’s grade and progress to the next level may suffer.

Attendance Disciplinary Procedure

Instructors are required to report all absences, late arrivals and early departures to the ESLI Academic Coordinator

First warning: Instructor discusses the reasons for the absences with the student. Depending on the circumstances of the absences, instructors will offer appropriate help or suggestions to improve the student’s attendance.

Second warning: The student will meet with the ESLI Academic Coordinator to further discuss the reasons for the student’s excessive absences and improve the student’s attendance.

Probation: After a student is put on probation, continued absences will result in academic dismissal from the ESLI program.

Dismissal: The student is now in violation of the laws of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; the U.S. Government will be notified that the student is out of status. Dismissal will take place at the end of the quarter in which the maximum absences occur. When students are dismissed from the program, they forfeit any tuition.

Exception to Attendance Policy

A student may be exempted from the attendance policy in certain extreme circumstances, such as suffering a severe, debilitating, and extended illness. In cases like this, students will need to provide evidence of the need for the extended absence, such as a doctor’s release. While students in these kinds of extreme circumstances may be exempted from probation and dismissal, they will be counseled to withdraw from the program until they are well enough to study and attend full-time again. Please notify the ESL Academic Coordinator immediately if you find yourself in such an extreme circumstance.

Attendance Probation Appeal Policy

Students may appeal their dismissal status to the UW-Stout Office of International Education Appeal Committee, if they feel that they experienced other circumstances so unusual and out of the ordinary that their attendance was significantly and temporarily impacted. Students will receive information about the appeals process in writing at the time of the dismissal.

ESLI Placement Policies

Placement Policy

University of Wisconsin-Stout ESLI has five levels of English classes ranging from pre-academic to high advanced. Before classes start, students take the iTEP, which is a 60-minute standardized test that looks at each student’s listening, grammar, and reading skills. In addition, there is also a 30-minute writing diagnostic evaluated by at least two teachers based on the UW-Stout ESLI Writing Placement Rubric. Students are placed in a level according to their scores.

Zero level beginning students may opt out of the iTEP and writing diagnostic if they choose to go directly into the pre-academic level.

Students who disagree with their placement need to complete the Placement Appeal Form within one week (5 class days) from the start of class. It is important that students stay in the classes in which they were originally placed and take all diagnostics given in the classes so that the teachers can evaluate their work. It is also important that students continue to complete class and homework assignments to show the teachers their ability. Reevaluation of placement decisions can take up to five class days. If the teachers agree, and the student’s class work and test scores support it, we will move students up to the next level.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who score above 70 on the Stout ESL Battery may be eligible for admission to the UW-Stout if they meet all of the Stout admission criteria and have submitted all of the necessary application materials. Students who are conditionally accepted into a degree program, and who score above 70 on the Stout ESL battery, above 70 on the TOEFL iBT, or above 6.0 on the IELTS — before the first day of class — will have the ESL requirement waived. English course placement would be based on the English Department placement policy for international students.

Undergraduate students who score below 70 on the Stout ESL Battery (or who previously scored below 61 on the TOEFL iBT or below 5.5 on the IELTS) as well as non-degree seeking ESL students will enter the ESL Institute. Students may challenge their placement into the ESL Institute by submitting an official TOEFL iBT score of 61 or an IELTS score of 5.5 to the Undergraduate Admissions Office as part of their application process.

However, once a student has started classes at the ESLI, the student must complete that term of study and wait until the beginning of the next term before exiting from the ESLI program.

In addition, while enrolled in ESLI, students must maintain good academic standing or they will not be allowed to begin coursework at Stout, regardless of their TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Graduate Students

Graduate students who score 79 or above on the TOEFL, above 6.5 on the IELTS, or above 79 on the Stout ESL Battery may be eligible for admission to UW-Stout if they meet all of the Graduate School admission criteria as well as the graduate degree program admission criteria and have submitted all of the necessary application materials. Prospective students should be aware that different degree programs have different admission criteria. Please visit the international student admissions page for the ESL admission requirements of the different graduate programs. Note that most graduate programs require a TOEFL or IELTS and do not simply accept graduation from an ESL program.

Prospective graduate students who have not taken the TOEFL or IELTS must complete Stout’s ESL program through the advanced coursework level.

Graduate students who score from 70 to 78 on the TOEFL iBT will be required to take the Stout ESL Battery and complete at least one Stout ESL course before starting their degree program.

Graduate students who score from 75 to 78 on the Stout ESL Battery will be required to complete one ESL course designed specifically to prepare international students for graduate work in the U.S. Graduate students who score below 75 on the Battery will enter the ESL Institute full-time.

Students may challenge their placement into the ESL Institute by submitting an official TOEFL score of 79 iBT, or an IELTS score of 6.5 to the Graduate Admissions Office as part of their application.

However, once a student has started classes at the ESLI, the student must complete that term of study and wait until the beginning of the next term before exiting from the ESLI program.

Placement After Absence of One Term or Longer

If you need to return home, or for any other reason need to miss one term, you will go into the next level when you return to the ESLI if you have passed all of your classes.* If you have not passed all of your classes, you will re-take the placement exam.

If you miss two or more terms at the ESLI, you will take the placement exam when you return and be placed accordingly. We will also consider your previous grades and class performance in determining your level.

*Students who begin at the pre-academic level and leave within six months for a period of a quarter or longer will need to re-take the placement exam. 

ESLI Related Grievances

Grievances

If you want to make a formal complaint about anything in the ESLI program (grades, classes, people), please fill out the Formal Complaint By Student form [PDF] and submit your complaint to the ESLI/OIE office in Harvey Hall. If you make a formal complaint, there will be a record of it for your protection.

If you don’t want to make a formal complaint, you can follow the steps below. At some point in the process, you might still want to make a formal complaint, but it is best to start with an informal complaint, by having a conversation with your teacher or the Director

Complaints About ESLI Classes
  1. Talk to your instructor
  2. Talk to the ESLI Academic Director
  3. Talk to the OIE Director
  4. Contact the Dean of Students Office
Complaints About OIE Staff, Advisors, Other Staff, Etc.
  1. Talk to the staff member involved.
  2. Talk to the staff member's supervisor. 
  3. Talk to the Dean of Students Office at 715-232-1181.
  4. Students who believe they have been a victim of discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (gender), religion, national origin, age, or physical disability should inform Human Resources (715-232-2149) or use the Employee Relations Complaint Form.
Complaints About Other Students
  1. For student behavior that is criminal in nature or is an immediate threat, please contact University Police at 715 232-2222 or 911.
  2. For other complaints regarding other student behavior, the issue should be referred to the Dean of Students Office at 715-232-1181 or by utilizing the online reporting form.
Grade Appeal Policy
  1. Any complaints about grading/promotion need to be brought to the attention of the ESLI instructor and/or director before the next term that the student is enrolled.
  2. Students should address the complaint regarding the course grade with the instructor, providing the instructor with documentation of the grading error.
  3. If the instructor determines an error was made, he or she will take appropriate action.
  4. If the instructor maintains accuracy of the grade, the student may submit a written request to the ESLI Academic Director for mediation.
    1. After mediation, if the instructor determines a grade change should be made, he or she will take appropriate action.
    2. After mediation, if the instructor and the ESLI Academic Director maintain accuracy of the grade, the student may submit a written request [PDF] to the OIE Director for mediation.
  5. If the OIE director maintains the accuracy of the grade, the student can contact the Dean of Students Office at any time for advice and guidance related to complaints concerning course grades.

Matriculation from ESLI

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students with conditional admission to UW-Stout must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their ESLI courses and finish the high advanced level (ESLI Courses 60b and 61b) before they can begin their studies as UW-Stout students. Students who complete 60b and 61b with a GPA of 3.0 (or higher) can be placed directly into ENGL 101.  Students who complete both 60b and 61b with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.9 will be placed into English 90.

Undergraduate students who have maintained a 3.0 GPA in their ESLI coursework (ESLI courses 50 and 51) may take 6 ESL credits (one high advanced level course) and 6 Stout credits while enrolled in ESLI 60/61.

Undergraduate students with less than a 2.0 GPA may be put on probation and required to retake those ESLI courses in which they performed below a 76 percent correct level. In addition, students who fail courses at level 50 may not be allowed to pass to level 60 or to take Stout classes when they reach level 60.

Graduate Students

The UW-Stout Graduate School requires that graduate students with conditional admission maintain a 3.0 GPA in their ESLI courses and finish the high advanced level (currently ESLI Courses 60 and 61) before they can begin their graduate coursework. Students with GPAs lower than 3.0 from ESLI will not be accepted for graduate study.  Please note that most programs now require a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score before acceptance into the program.