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Core Skills

  • ESL students help each other with assignments

The Core Skills ESL program in the American Culture and Language Institute teaches students from all over the world. Many of our students are immigrants who live and work in Northern Virginia, have diplomatic or other short-term visa status.

Goals of Core Skills ESL

Core Skills ESL is a part-time program with five levels, from Intro to Low-Intermediate. Students who don't know much English may begin at the Intro or Low-Beginning level. The highest Core Skills ESL level is Low-Intermediate. When students complete all Core Skills ESL levels, they may continue in higher level Specialty Courses which are offered on some campuses, or they may take the placement test (the ACCUPLACER) to enter the College ESL program.

What Will I Work on in Core Skills ESL?

In the reading and writing Core Skills ESL courses, you will develop and improve your reading, writing and grammar skills. In the listening and speaking Core Skills ESL courses, you will develop and improve your skills in understanding spoken English and speaking clearly and effectively.

On some campuses Core Skills classes are offered as integrated skills. This means you work on all skills in each class meeting, practicing listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading, writing and grammar in each class.

Core Skills ESL Levels

There are five levels in Core Skills ESL from Intro to Low-Intermediate. Students who don’t know much English may begin at the Intro or Low-Beginning level. The highest Core Skills ESL level is Low-Intermediate. When students complete all Core Skills ESL levels, they may continue in higher level Specialty Courses which are offered on some campuses, or they may take the placement test to enter the College ESL program (the ACCUPLACER).

Placement Test

You need to take the ACLI placement test to determine your level of English before registering for classes. The ACLI placement test is a 30-minute writing test and an oral interview. You should contact the campus of your choice to find out how to take the ACLI placement test on that campus. After you get your placement results, you can register for classes. You can use placement results from one campus to register at any NOVA ACLI.

If you place into the highest level of Core Skills ESL on the ACLI placement test and want to take academic classes at NOVA, you may choose to take the ACCUPLACER to find out if you qualify to register for College ESL classes.

Application Information

New students must apply to NOVA before registering for classes. If you want to register for Core Skills ESL classes, please be sure to check “CEU” when you are filling out your NOVA application.

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