In the ESOL Reading Program we have four levels of reading. Each level emphasizes similar reading skills which become more complex as students progress through the levels. This spiral curriculum enables students to practice on the skills and by reinforcement and actual practice students refine their reading skills as they go through the 4 levels. The purpose of our program is to enable our students to pass THEA and be successful in college level work.

The basic philosophy of the ESOL Reading Program is to nurture language acquisition and development in (ESOL Reading) students. In order to do this it is necessary to adjust or modify instruction to meet the needs of a very diverse student population in terms of cultural backgrounds, prior knowledge and English language proficiency. Students are thus given multiple opportunities to learn and create challenges aligned with their language proficiencies.

All students, including ESOL Reading students, are required to pass the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) exam before enrolling in college courses. The ESOL Reading program prepares students for this exam with the Pre THEA Test (PTT). Students in levels 2, 3, and 4 are required to take and pass this exam before moving to the next level, or exiting the ESOL Reading Program. This process establishes high expectations and standards for our students. To promote student success within a diverse student population, different teaching pedagogies are used to encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills.

In promoting the ESOL Reading Program we have recognized the need to be fair and yet maintain high standards in meeting the exit criteria. ESOL Reading students are intelligent, but as English language learners they need and appreciate a clear and structured format for acquiring reading skills and this is what we attempt to provide in our four levels of reading.

Placement of Students

In order to determine which of the four levels a student will be placed, the ESOL Reading Program uses the Michigan Test of English Proficiency (MTELP), and compass placement scores which are as follows:

  • For entrance into ESOL 0041 (Level 1) students must score between 21 – 28 on the MTELP or 45 – 63 on compass
  • For entrance into ESOL 0042 (Level 2) students must score between 29 – 46 on the MTELP or 64 – 76 on compass
  • For entrance into ESOL 0043 (Level 3) students must score between 47 – 65 on the MTELP or 77 – 89 on compass
  • For entrance into ESOL 0044 (Level 4) students must score between 66 – 79 on the MTELP or 90 – 98 on compass
Progression of students through the four levels

In order for ESOL Reading students to progress through the four levels of reading, they must successfully complete the exit criteria determined for each of the levels:

  • ESOL 0041 (Level 1) exit criteria is based on the completion of required work provided in the 0041 syllabus, as well as, the instructors recommendation.
  • ESOL 0042 (Level 2) exit criteria is based on their midterm and final Pre THEA Test (PTT) score of 10.
  • ESOL 0043 (Level 3) exit criteria is based on their midterm and final PTT core of 12 plus exit projects.
  • ESOL 0044 (Level 4) exit criteria is based on their midterm and final PTT score of 14 plus major exit project.

Students in levels 2, 3, and 4 take the PTT twice a semester (including the May, Winter, and Summer terms). Of the two attempts, students only need to pass the test once to exit.

THEA Remediation Requirements

ESOL Reading students are required to take the Reading portion of the THEA test after completing level 3 Reading. Students will need to get a referral for the test from an advisor in the Multicultural Center T150. If a student passes the Reading portion of the test, they do not have to take level 4 reading, as they have met the remediation requirement and may exit ESOL Reading. Please refer to the Richland College Assessment Information: The Texas Success Initiative-TSI web page for more information on the THEA requirements.

Steps taken to improve student learning and success

The syllabus clearly defines the objectives, expectations, and evaluation criteria for each of the four ESOL Reading levels.

  • Students are provided practice materials to prepare for the THEA test.
  • A supplemental lab course is required for all ESOL levels in the ESOL program to help students fulfill the objectives of their course.
  • There is a sound partnership venture between the ESL Reading Program, International Multicultural Center and THEA office.
  • Instructors are continuously updated on current THEA guidelines and requirements in order to better prepare students for remediation in the classroom.
  • Students in levels 3 & 4 who pass the THEA during the semester do not have to take the final/second PTT test. This prevents the student from withdrawing from the class and provides better student retention in the classroom.
  • Weaver, Diascriptive and merit are computer programs/software that provide excellent practice for students wanting to improve their skills.
Course Descriptions

ESOL 0041

This is a high beginning level reading course which starts students on language development through reading activities. Students are introduced to beginning comprehension skills, vocabulary building, reading efficiency strategies and intercultural sharing. Some study skills are also introduced.

ESOL 0042

This is a low intermediate level course which reinforces all the skills (vocabulary and comprehension) introduced in level one. Moreover, new skills are introduced like paragraph organization, idiom study, and adapting reading rates for different purposes.

ESOL 0043

This is a high intermediate reading level which promotes further vocabulary and comprehension skills, especially as they pertain to academic and TASP reading. Emphasis is on critical thinking skills, vocabulary expansion and the use of campus resources as they relate to academic work.

ESOL 0044

This is an advanced reading course and final reading course that students will take. All the skills taught in previous levels will be reinforced with more emphasis being made on academic skills. Students will continue to practice critical thinking skills and read longer academic readings. This course is also a "bridge course" to college work.


There is a lab requirement for every student taking an ESOL Reading course. The lab portion of the class accounts for 15% of the course grade. Students are required to complete 6 lab assignments outside of their regular coursework. These assignments are designed to supplement and provide extra practice on language development through reading activities: reading comprehension, vocabulary building, study skills techniques, and intercultural sharing/learning. The lab is also designed to help the student fulfill the objectives of the course. The lab assignments are comprised using different ESOL software, internet programs, and several textbook resources.

The lab is organized on a drop-in basis with flexible hours to accommodate a wide range of student schedules. Lab work consists of 6 assignments due throughout the semester.