English Language Institute

English Proficiency

Required Placement Assessments

All non-native speakers of English are required to take the following assessments before registering for classes. Assessment scores will be reviewed by UH Hilo faculty and recommendations for coursework will be provided during a follow-up session.

Placement Assessment Dates

Semester English Language Placement Assessment (Required) Date/Time/Location
Fall 2020 Listening, Grammar, Vocabulary & Reading
(All parts of the test are required)
No registration is needed for the ELPA
Thursday, January 9, 2020
2:00pm-5:00pm / Location: UCB 100

What is the English Language Placement Assessment?

For students who are not native speakers of English.

The English Language Placement Assessment (ELPA) is a set of tests designed to measure the listening, grammar, and reading skills of people who are not native speakers of English. The listening test has two parts.

  • Part one is a multiple-choice test in response to audio-taped questions.
  • Part two is an 18-minute lecture followed by a series of questions.
  • The grammar and reading tests are multiple-choice.

In addition, entering students must take the Writing Placement Assessment.

Who Takes the English Language Placement Assessment?

You should take the placement assessment if you are a non-native speaker of English entering UH Hilo for the first time.

What is the Purpose of the Placement Assessment?

The placement assessment is the University's way of placing you into the ESL courses that will best prepare you to succeed in university studies. On the basis of placement assessment results, you will be assigned to one or more courses taught by the UH Hilo English Language Institute (ELI).

  • ESL 061 Listening & Speaking, Int (4)
  • ESL 063 Academic Reading, Intermediate (4)
  • ESL 071 Listening & Speaking, High Int (4)
  • ESL 073 Academic Reading, High Int (4)
  • ESL 081 Listening & Speaking, Advanced (4)
  • ESL 125, Academic Reading Strategies 2

Students are placed in the writing courses ESL 064 Academic Writing, Intermediate (4) , ESL 074 Academic Writing, High Int (4) , ESL 084 Academic Writing, Advanced (4) , or ESL 100 Composition/Nonnative Speakers (3) on the basis of their performance in the Writing Placement Assessment.

Who Does Not Take the English Language Placement Assessment?

Waivers will be granted to students who:

  • have received a score of 600 or better on the paper-based TOEFL,a score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL, a score of 250 or better on the computer-based TOEFL or a score of 7.0 or better on the IELTS.
  • have received a score of 460 or better on the verbal section of the GRE
  • have received a score of 540 or better on the verbal section of the SAT if taken before March 2005, or a score of 540 or better on the critical reading section if taken in March 2005 or thereafter.
  • have an Associate of Arts degree from a community college within the University of HawaiÊ»i system
  • have completed 6 years of full-time schooling with English as the medium of instruction at a middle school, high school, college, or university in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. Documentation of all six years is required.
  • are a non-degree seeking student who attends a university where English is the primary language of instruction, OR has a Statement of English Proficiency from their home university and a recommendation from the UH Hilo Director of Global Exchange.

On the Day of the English Language Placement Assessment

  1. Make sure you arrive at the assessment location on time.
  2. Bring a photo ID and UH ID number.
  3. Do not bring any reference materials such as paper or electronic dictionaries.

Getting Your Results

Results of the English Language Placement Assessment will be available at the ELI office on Friday, January 10, 2020 from 12:00pm - 4:00pm. Students may come by the office to pick up their results, talk to faculty and register for classes for most of the day. We look forward to meeting you!

Results available

Friday, January 10, 2020 from 12:00-4:00pm.


If you have any questions about the English Language Placement Assessment, please contact:

Julie Mowrer , English Language Institute Director
Telephone: (808) 932-7015
Email: jmowrer@hawaii.edu

Note: If you will need disability accommodations to take the test, please contact the ELI Director two weeks in advance of the test.