English for Second Language Learners (ESLL) Placement

ESLL or English Placement Test?

ESLL Placement Testing Eligibility

Accuplacer Test Score Transfer

ESLL Test Prep

Results & Retest Policy

Schedule an Appointment

ESLL or English Placement Test?

The ESLL 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.

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 (ESLL 225, 226 & 227) 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 (ESLL 225, 226 & 227) sin necesidad de tomar la prueba de ubicación de ESL.

ESLL Test Eligibilty

Placement Test VS. Prerequisite Clearance Process

You should take an ESL Placement Test at the Testing & Assessment Center if you: You should complete the Admissions & Records Prerequisite Clearance Process if you have:
  • A college degree from an accredited U.S. college or university
  • Don't have any college coursework credit

Prerequisite Clearance Process:

To be cleared for a prerequisite, please complete a prerequisite clearance form and submit the form to Admissions & Records.

Unsure about your Foothill Placement Testing History?

If you have already taken an ESL placement test at Foothill College, your placement will be vaild for 365 days.

  • Valid scores will be posted on your Student Tab of MyPortal.

Accuplacer Test Score Transfer

  • Foothill only accepts the raw scores of the Accuplacer ESLL test.
  • Foothill does not accept placement test scores from CSUs or UCs.
  • To transfer your Accuplacer Test Scores, please complete the Transfer of Scores process.

ESLL Test Prep

Before scheduling an appointment:

  • You must complete and submit the Foothill College Application for Admission
  • Review ESLL Placement Prep Materials
  • Become familar with the computerized placement testing for ESLL
  • You will find pencils, scratch paper and ear plugs inside the testing lab
  • Tests are untimed, but in general students take about two hours to complete
  • On the day of your testing appointment, just bring your photo ID and Foothill student ID number

Results & Retest Policy

ESLL Course Sequence

For those students that test directly into ESLL Level 6: ESLL 26, you can the opportunity to take the Native English Placement tests to see where you place in the English course sequence. See a counselor to discuss which course(s) are best for your educational plan.

For those students that test directly into ESLL Level 5 courses, you must complete ESLL 25 & ESLL 249 with a passing grade; you then have the choice between enrolling into ESLL 26 or ENGL 1A. See a counselor to discuss which course(s) are best for your educational plan.

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 grade (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 & ESLL: Language Arts Coordinator Valerie Fong

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

Schedule an Appointment

Placement Testing is available by appointment only.

Download the Placement Testing Schedule or Schedule an Appointment now!

All you need to bring to your appointment is 1) a photo ID and 2) your Foothill student ID number. Everything else (pencils, calculators, etc.) is provided for you.

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