English as a Second Language (ESL)Placement

The ESL Placement consists of four parts:

1) Listening, 2) Language Usage, 3) Sentence Skill, and 4) Reading Skills.

These parts are untimed and usually take about 80 minutes to complete.


Pending the results of the sections above, you may be prompted to write an essay. You have 45 minutes to write a 300-600 word, multi-paragraph essay on an assigned topic. Your essay will be evaluated using artificial intelligence. The results are available immediately.

Your score will be based:

  • Organization
    • The clarity with which you structure your response and present a logical sequence of ideas.
  • Focus, Development, and Support
    • The clarity with which you maintain your main idea or point of view. The extent to which you elaborate on your ideas and the extent to which you present supporting details.
  • Vocabulary
    • The appropriateness and complexity of vocabulary.
  • Sentence Structure
    • The quality and variety of sentence structures, usage and grammar.
  • Mechanics
    • The extent to which your writing is free of errors in usage and mechanics.

Before scheduling an appointment:

Schedule an Appointment 

Test is approximately 1.5 hours in length

If you have difficulty understanding the information on this page or difficulty communicating your basic needs in English, you may take the lowest level ESL course (ESL 200A) without taking the ESL Placement Test.

Si tienes dificultad entendiendo la siguiente información o dificultad para comunicar tus necesidades básicas en inglés, deberías tomar los niveles más bajos de los cursos de inglés como segunda lengua o ESL (ESL 200A) sin necesidad de tomar la prueba de ubicación de ESL.

ESL Assessment & Course Placement Guide

ESL Sequence

Expiration of Assessment Results

Assessment results are valid for one (1) year for the date that the score was earned.

Retest Policy

After taking a placement test at Foothill College, students may retake the English, ESL, and/or Math placement tests one (1) time at Foothill College within a six (6) month period of the initial date of a placement; however, students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a transcriptable grad (passing, or D, F, W, NP or I) in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.


Challenges to placements should be directed to the appropriate Division Office.

English & ESL: Dean of Language Arts Paul Starer

Foothill College Placement Testing Retest Policy - Updated July 1, 2015

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