ESL Placement Tests

The ESL Placement Test is given once per semester, shortly before classes begin.  The test consists of four parts:

  • a 90-minute standardized test of reading, grammar and vocabulary
  • a 30-minute essay
  • a 30-minute standardized test of listening comprehension
  • a short interview 

Based on their scores on the UW-Superior ESL Placement Test, students may be required to enroll in one to four ESL courses.  In some cases, an ESL course may be recommended but not required.  In addition to their required ESL courses, students enroll in one or more other university courses during their first semester at UW-Superior. 

Who is required to take the UW-Superior ESL Placement Test?

UW-Superior undergraduate students with English language proficiency scores in the following ranges are required to take the UW-Superior ESL Placement Test prior to the beginning of their first semester.                                                                                  

TOEFL iBT: 60-80
TOEFL PBT: 500-500
IELTS: 5.5-6.0

In addition, students who have met the UW-Superior English proficiency requirement through study at a UW-Superior partner language school, such as the Global Language Institute (GLI), ELS Language Centers (ELS), the Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute (WESLI), or the Madison English as a Second Language School (MESLS), are also required to take the ESL Placement Test.

Who is NOT required to take the UW-Superior ESL Placement Test?

International students whose native language is not English and who have test scores which meet one of the criteria below are not required to take the ESL Placement Test.

TOEFL iBT: 82 or higher
TOEFL PBT: 551 or higher
IELTS: 6.5 or higher
SAT Critical Reading: 450 or higher
ACT English Section:  18 or higher

Degree-seeking international students who are not required to take the ESL Placement Test must take the Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT).  The WEPT is offered by the Student Support Services Office shortly before the beginning of each semester.  Based on their WEPT scores, students will be placed in Writing 099, 101, or 102.  Students should continue taking the appropriate writing course each semester until they have completed Writing 102.  This is a general education requirement for all students at UW-Superior.

Students who are unsure whether or not they are required to take the ESL Placement Test should e-mail the Office of International Programs at or call 715-394-8052 .