English Language Institute

English Language Placement Assessment (ELPA)

The English Language Placement Assessment will not be offered face-to-face this year, so students should take the online placement assessment. You will want to take it as soon as possible to receive your results and register for the classes you need. For more information and instructions, please review the Online English Language Placement Assessment instructions below.

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Online English Language Placement Assessment Instructions

The online assessment will be conducted via the university’s Learning Management System called Laulima. In order to access Laulima and the online placement exam, you must have your assigned UH User ID and password. If you do not have your UH User ID and password you can contact the UH ITS Helpdesk at +1-808-956-8883 (toll-free from neighbor islands at (800) 558-2669) or via email at help@hawaii.edu for assistance.

Initial Instructions:

  1. To begin the assessment, visit the English Language Placement Assessment site.

  2. Click the UH Login link.

Screenshot showing Login Required screen

  1. Log into Laulima by entering your UH User ID and Password.

Screenshot showing Login screen

  1. Once you are logged into Laulima click on the Yes, add me button. You should arrive at the ELPA Start Here page.

  2. Follow the instructions to take the assessment.

Join Elpa dialog

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.

What is the UH Hilo English Language Placement Assessment?

For students who are not native speakers of English.

The English Language Placement Assessment (ELPA) is a test designed to measure the reading skills of people who are not native speakers of English.

If you do not see an invitation to join the group, then you may need to Join the EPLA group on Laulima first.

The reading assessment includes 3 readings with short answer and multiple choice questions after each reading.

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

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).

  • ELI 093 Academic Reading, Intermediate (4)
  • ELI 103 Academic Reading Strategies 1 (4)
  • ELI 203 Academic Reading Strategies 2 (4)

Students are placed in the writing courses ELI 094 Special Topics in Subject Matter (To Be Arranged) , ELI 104 Rhetorical Writing Styles 1 (4) , ELI 204 Rhetorical Writing Styles 2 (4) , or ESL 100 Composition/Nonnative Speakers (3) on the basis of their performance in 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.

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 Hawaiʻi 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.
  • have received a score of 120 or better on the Duolingo English Test

Getting Your Results

The results of your placement assessments will be emailed to your @hawaii.edu email account within 2 working days of taking the test.


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.