ELSP Language Assessment

ELSP Mission

The mission of the English Language Support Program (ELSP) is to support and enrich the experience of international students who use English as an additional language. In line with Laney Graduate School’s mission to support the success of all students through the fostering of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we aim to offer high-quality language instruction that advances the communicative skills of multilingual graduate students. We have worked with diverse scholars since 1990, helping them succeed in their fields, communicate across disciplines, and connect to their local and global communities. 

ELSP Language Assessment

The ELSP recognizes that students enter Emory’s Laney Graduate School (LGS) with multifaceted language backgrounds. Based on information provided by applicants on the LGS application, degree-seeking students who may need English language support are required to take the LGS Language Proficiency Assessment or to request and be approved for an exemption (see below for details).

The ELSP language assessment is not used in the admissions process; instead, it is used for teaching recommendations and to identify students who may need English language support to thrive in graduate school. For some students, ELSP coursework is a required, integral part of their LGS curriculum. Other students, based on the assessment results, elect to enroll in ELSP to further advance their English communication skills.

Assessment of Incoming Graduate Students (Fall 2023)

ELSP language assessments are conducted online in Canvas (Emory’s course delivery system) and via Zoom by invitation. Students will receive an invitation to the ELSP Assessment Course, where they will complete an online writing assessment and make an appointment for an oral interview with an English Language Specialist.

In the Speaking Assessment, students will be interviewed by a trained examiner. The student’s speech sample is scored by two raters who assess patterns of strengths and weaknesses, thereby establishing the student’s level of consistent functional ability. A ranking system of Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior (with low, mid, and high sub-categories) is used to describe the student's oral proficiency.

The Writing Assessment involves writing a timed (60 minute) essay on a designated academic topic. The writing sample is evaluated and scored by two trained raters, using multiple criteria to determine the writer’s current facility in English. A ranking system of Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior is used to describe the student’s writing proficiency (with low, mid, and high sub-categories within each level).

ELSP Assessment Timeline for new LGS students (Fall 2023)

  • Students will receive invitations to the ELSP Assessment in early June, along with detailed instructions on how to complete the required assessments.
  • Both the writing and speaking assessment will be conducted online. The writing assessment can be taken online beginning July 5.
  • The deadline to complete the writing assessment and to schedule an oral interview is August 1.
  • The main speaking assessment dates are August 2-8. Students who wish to complete their speaking assessments prior to August will have the opportunity to do so  June 26-28.
  • If you think you may be eligible for an exemption from language assessment, please refer to our Assessment Frequently Asked Questions for more details on what constitutes an exemption. Exemption requests should be submitted here and must be received by July 15 for consideration.
  • If you may need English language support but have not received an invitation or if you have questions for the ESLP, please contact us (see below).

Current International Students

If you are a current international student seeking English language support, please see the For Students section of the ELSP website.


Heather Boldt, ELSP Director, hboldt@emory.edu