English Learning at CCIS
Studies show that English language proficiency is the most important factor for a student’s future academic success in an American international school, for a successful university application and to be successful in the university environment. In recent years an alarming percentage of Chinese students have failed or been kicked out of universities abroad due to improper language and academic preparation. Too often students in China have relied only on a TOEFL or IELTS exam-centered approach to preparing for study abroad. Rather than being a shortcut to success, this route has been shown time and time again to be the quickest route to failure. At CCIS we take the development of English language proficiency very seriously, so we use several tools to measure language skills, track improvement of these skills and to develop these essential skills. The tools and courses in the CCIS program help students to build a solid foundation in English from which they can move into the exam preparation stage and then, finally, proceed to university entrance and university success.
- IEP : CCIS has recently developed I E P (IEP), an English language enhancement program for younger students. The program’s goal is to help students gain the proficiency in English they would need to attend an American high school within 2 to 3 years. To achieve this goal, IEP provides a rigorous and comprehensive course of study in reading comprehension and verbal reasoning. In addition, equal attention is given to listening and speaking skills. The IEP program is individualized to meet each student’s needs, using leveled textbooks to personalize the English instruction.
As the students’ English skills improve, the instruction in other courses at CCIS adapts to reinforce what they have learned. The teaching in math and science classes will gradually shift from bilingual to only English. In this way, the IEP program works both on a micro- and macro-level to acclimate students to learning and using English. The result, we believe, is a well-rounded, competent student who is prepared to excel in an English-speaking high school.
- Round the World Reading Project : Reading is recognized as the most essential skill for academic success. Students can explore interest and broaden knowledge through reading. Additionally, it also an indispensable part of our language learning. Through self-reading, students can work independently to improve their reading skills. Improved reading also supports improved thinking and understanding in addition to facilitating life-long learning. Therefore, CCIS is highly focused on student reading development. Our reading program is also a multi-faceted program with several online and offline tools to build students’ reading comprehension ability and skill. Reading development begins with our classroom materials, developed and enhanced by our online leveled reading program, Around the World Reading Project.Around World Reading Project is an online reading program with its unique rewarding system. The reading materials sourced from the Reading A-Z Leveled book which are used throughout North America and around the world at leading international schools. There are 27 levels in the RAZ (Reading A-Z), including the America kindergarten level AA-C, the America Primary school Grade 1 level D-J, the America Primary school Grade 2 level K-P, the America Primary school Grade 3 level Q-T, the America Primary school Grade 4 level U-W, and the America Primary school Grade 5 level X-Z. When students have progressed to the end of the reading program, they can achieve the same or higher level of English reading with those university students who passed CET-6 test with more than 5500 vocabularies.
Before students start to practice reading online, they will take a reading-level test to get their actual reading level which is match to their English ability. Starting from this level, students continue to read progressively. Through dependent reading, quiz and recording, their self-learning ability and English level would be cultivated successfully. Except that, we also provide student with matching vocabulary cards so that students can broaden their vocabulary bank simultaneously. Most importantly, the reading system can record student performance automatically. It provides teachers with the objective data for evaluating and assessing students’ actual reading level. In this way, we can learn student well and provide differentiated instruction to each student.
In addition to online reading program, classroom reading is also an important part of CCIS reading program. Classroom reading consist of two parts, literal reading and academic reading. The literary reading material is selected from the local textbooks of California, USA. Through doing a lot of literacy reading practice, student can get their reading comprehension ability be strengthened. Designed by CCSS (Common Core State Standard), it also prepares students for their successful American college entrance exam in the future. Furthermore, in the academic reading class, the high quality materials sourced from the local textbooks of California include more key academic words and talk more about the academic knowledge, such as life science, earth science, physics and chemistry, which can lay a foundation for students future study of science in English.
Our main online reading program takes students from Kindergarten all the way through Grade 12 levels of reading difficulty. The readings also help students practice skills that are tested on the TOEFL iBT and other exams. Instructors facilitate this online reading program, so students can understand which skills they should improve.
- WIDA TEST: The CCIS Entrance Exam only measures students’ abilities at the beginning and intermediate levels, so we administer the WIDA Exam to all enrolled students to measure their development of English proficiency at CCIS. WIDA is the most widely used English proficiency exam in the world for K-12 students. It is currently used in thirty-nine U.S. states and territories.Along with millions of K-12 students in North America and around the world, students at CCIS take this exam one to two times a year to measure their skills in academic and social English.
The WIDA Exam covers social, instructional and subject language as shown in the graphic below.
The WIDA Exam has 6 levels. Level 1 (Entering) equates to Beginning English proficiency. Level 6 (Reaching) is the equivalent of native English proficiency.
- Vocabulary Program: The CCIS Vocabulary Program is focused on developing mastery of both general academic words as well as specific subject area vocabulary (e.g. Science, History, etc.) This vocabulary program consists of several parts and programs. The CCIS Entrance and WIDA Exams measure students’ general proficiency, so we will know the students general level of ability. This allows us to match students to appropriate classroom materials and place them in appropriate courses based on their demonstrated ability. To further diagnose their vocabulary skills, we use an international test to measure vocabulary size.Our vocabulary test was developed by one of the world’s major scholars in vocabulary teaching and learning. Our vocabulary test is used to measure both first language and second language learners’ vocabulary size in English. The score on this test indicates the appropriate levels of reading materials and vocabulary study. Our main vocabulary learning program at CCIS covers the 4000 most useful academic words. CCIS uses both online and textbook materials to help students gradually expand their vocabulary size. Students who have mastered this main program are placed on a separate, advanced, vocabulary track.To supplement the study of vocabulary in the academic subjects CCIS provides students with vocabulary lists they can review online, at school, at home, or on their phones and tablets while traveling from place to place.
- Reading Program: The CCIS Reading Program is also a multi-faceted program with several online and offline tools to build students’ reading comprehension ability and skill. Reading development begins with our classroom materials sourced from the top three American academic publishers. These materials are used throughout North America and around the world at leading international schools.
CCIS English courses use high-quality resources and follow research-based best practices. We supplement this core curriculum with additional online and library resources for classroom and individual study. For lower ability readers, we utilize two phonics programs with the textbook and online resources to help build students’ recognition of sounds, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. We also offer reading resources that match students’ personal reading levels. These resources are available offline as well as in our online reading programs so that students can work independently to improve their reading skills. Improved reading also supports improved grammar, spelling and writing skills in addition to facilitating life-long learning.
Our main online reading system helps students develop both reading and vocabulary skills that are targeted at their individual level of proficiency. Through our two online reading platforms, students read stories and non-fiction texts at their specific Lexile level (a level that measures the difficulty of a reading text). Lexile levels are provided for all books published in North America. Thus, when students learn their Lexile levels, they are able to choose personal reading materials that are at or slightly above their current reading level, instead of mistakenly struggling to read, for example, classic texts, they are not yet prepared to read in a timely and successful manner.
Our main online reading program takes students from Kindergarten all the way through Grade 12 levels of reading difficulty. The readings also help students practice skills that are tested on the TOEFL iBT and other exams. Instructors facilitate this online reading program, so students can understand which skills they should improve. When students have progressed to the end of the main reading program CCIS transitions them to a more advanced program as well as providing additional university-level resources for individualized learning.
CCIS high school students also receive materials and instruction that are specifically developed to prepare them for the TOEFL, SAT and other university entrance related exams. This instruction will also be matched to the students’ appropriate level of proficiency in order to allow them to progress in the most efficient manner possible.
The CCIS program of thought-provoking courses, combined with systematic vocabulary and reading development programs, and backed up by world-class proficiency testing programs, will assure that students at CCIS are given the best chance at academic success during their years at our school. And most importantly, the courses, programs, and tools at CCIS will help students to develop the kind of skills and knowledge that will allow them to succeed not only on the TOEFL exam but, most importantly, to succeed in their academic studies in overseas universities.