Summer Programming: Intake, Testing, Orientation & Instruction?

Hello colleagues, Summer is upon us, and I'm wondering what kind of programming you are engaged in or planning for summer. Is your program offering or will your program offer distance learning options throughout the summer? If so, what options are being offered? What does or will your class look like?

How are you approaching intake, testing and orientation for your summer offerings?

Regarding testing, in my local program, we will test students remotely using BEST Plus. We can test with TABE for English learners who have tested out of ESL levels. As for instruction during the summer, we will continue offering online classes via Zoom (starting in mid July) as well as supported learning through WhatsApp and ongoing supplemental distance through Burlington English and USA Learns. 

Let us know what summer programming looks like where you are!

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Hello everyone, 

Right now we are in the middle of remote casas testing as we are finishing up the extended spring session. We are doing one-on-one remote testing which is working, but it is tedious and slow. 

We are running a 6 week summer class starting July 13th. We'll be using Burlington English for the first time. Any one else using BE want to share ideas about planning and using it remotely? I'm thinking that maybe I don't need to use Google Classroom along with BE since they already have a learning management system integrated. I want students to focus on learning to use BE, as well as Zoom, so I wonder if it would be better to simplify the technology load for them. 

I will also continue using WhatsApp and set up a private group for my class. This will be our main form of communication sharing along with email, but I find students are much more comfortable using WhatsApp. 

Our summer classes will be fully remote. No one is allowed back in the buildings yet in our area of NJ. We will continue with live Zoom classes and independent student work. While students do their homework from Burlington English, I will be available to them on WhatsApp for questions and assistance. This is how we are structuring the classes, since we have a 3 hour requirement to fulfill. We will do 2 hours of Zoom class, then 1 hour of independent work. 


Jennifer Kluempen

ESL Instructor

Trenton, NJ

Hi Jennifer,

I used BurlingtonEnglish remotely all spring with my Level 2 class.  We were on Zoom and it worked great!  I shared the In-Class Lessons and assigned the Student Lessons as homework.  I also had a second class and used Google Classroom with them.  I posted assignments there and they got credit for all the time they spent working on Burlington.  

In my opinion, if you want your students to learn the technology, and if you plan to use Google going forward, it is worthwhile taking the time to teach students the basics of how to use it, and then post some fun stuff they can play around with.  For us, Burlington is a supplement to our main curriculum material.

I did not use WhatsApp with my people.  I got a Google Voice number and used that to text, and will try out Remind during our summer session this July.  All assignments will be posted in Google Classroom.  Our summer session is really short, only 16 hours of instruction and minimum 14 hours student homework on Burlington, so I will be able to try stuff out and teach my students how to use the tech as we will be fully remote.

Hope this helps!

Jill Wright


Hi Jill, 

Thanks for your reply! It helps to hear how others are structuring their fully remote classes. 

What is your main curriculum that you use? Do you find that students consistently complete their independent work on BE? Do you have any tips for motivating students to do their homework?

Our classes used to be a 3hour in-person class with no requirement for homework. Of course we encouraged students to practice in many ways outside of class, but they did not have to do any other assignments. When we went remote in March, and soon after in April began using Google Classroom, this was a big change for students. At first I found that most students were excited about using Google Classroom. It took time, but they were mostly able to learn how to find their assignments and successfully turn them in. But over the last couple of months, that participation really dropped off. My main core group of about 12 students would  attend Zoom class for 1 1/2 hours 3 days a week, but then I struggled to get them to do the extra assignments on GC. Only a few would regularly do them. I was pulling lesson ideas from many different online sources: ELLLO, Isl collective, Newsela, Linguahouse, and others - all the great online free sources. I also made my own worksheets and posted them on GC. Some students told me they found Google Classroom to be confusing and complicated to use. Others are finding it hard to make time for more study outside of the Zoom classes. 

So now that we are moving to Burlington English, I'm concerned about how to motivate and focus student participation. I want them to feel comfortable using BE and consistently do the student lessons so I can give them credit for that extra hour of homework. 

I'm also going to be starting out with a large Zoom class of about 25 students. Anyone have tips for managing a large Zoom class? 




At the American Culture & Language Institute (NVCC) we've opted for one-one-one testing in speaking and writing (usually it's large group writing and one-one-one speaking assessment) via Google voice and asking ss to email us a writing sample back (topic is related to course planning - what kind of English courses are they interested in). This is an adaptation of our in-house test. 

In Summer, for Fall placement, we're going to utilize Zoom instead of Google voice so that we can see students and that body language can assist with communication. We can also incorporate our picture question and our listening question from the in-house test via Zoom. We hesitated to use Zoom for Summer placement but it has been going so well in class we're rethinking our initial approach. 

Our instruction has been delivered synchronously via Zoom and Canvas. Some instructors also use Google Docs, padlet, and Kahoot.