How to assess a prospective ESL student

We’ve all been there. A prospective ESL student contacts you for lessons and seems to be a perfect fit: motivated to learn, willing to pay, timezone friendly… You offer your prospect a trial lesson, it seems to go well and then you never hear from them again!

Today I would like to introduce you to a tool recently released by Off2Class. Our ESL Placement Test is perfect for assessing a prospective ESL student. That is, assessing a prospective ESL student’s ability and seriousness to learn English.
Whether you are an independent ESL tutor or you are managing a language institute, it is important to assess whether your prospective ESL students are serious about taking (and paying for) lessons. To stand out in today’s ESL environment, teachers need to offer a high-quality and personalized service to their students and prospects. It’s important to build quality into your approach with students from the first point of contact. But how do you know whether it’s worth investing in prospective ESL students? Especially if so often they drop off before ever committing to lessons…
The trial lesson approach…
In previous posts we’ve recommended using a ‘trial lesson’ approach to assess your prospective ESL student’s seriousness to learn. Jack Askew (one of our favourite online ESL teacher bloggers) has long advocated charging at least a nominal fee for your trial lessons to make sure your prospects are willing to eventually pay for lessons.
Now, a better way…
Our ESL Placement test is a 100-question multiple choice test that you can assign to your prospective ESL students (within a couple clicks). After your prospective ESL student completes the test, we will deliver you their Gap Analysis and Individual Learning Plan. The Gap Analysis will detail every question that your prospective ESL student got wrong and will provide the corresponding lesson (from our library) to correct their fossilized grammatical issues.
We recommend using our ESL Placement Test as tool to assess whether your prospective ESL student is serious about learning with you. If your student isn’t willing to sit a 100-question test so that you can properly assess their English level and grammatical knowledge, they likely aren’t serious about learning. In addition, by using our test we will produce an Individual Learning Plan for your student. This plan will list all the lessons (from our library) required to address your student’s English gaps. By offering this tailored approach, you’ll be able to provide your student with a high-quality, personalized ESL experience from the beginning of your learning relationship.

We hope you enjoy using our ESL Placement Test to assess the seriousness of your prospective ESL students! All feedback is highly appreciated.


  • Pip says:

    December 19, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Hello there.
    Please can you tell me if the prospective student can see where the questionaire comes from, in other words is Off2Class anywhere on the document.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      December 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Hi there Pip. Your student will login to Off2Class to complete the test, but our logo appears nowhere on the test/questions. If you’d like, we can also replace the Off2Class brand with your logo, when students log in to Off2Class. You can send me an email if you’re interested in branding:

  • Andrew Owen says:

    January 19, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve just used this for the first time. I seems to have worked really well and I am now looking forward to embarking on the Individual Learning Plan with my new student,
    thanks, Andrew

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      January 19, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Cheers Andrew, glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Dara Fulton says:

    December 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I think this is great! I am an ESL teacher and after being laid off I am seeking to go into business for myself. I am happy you offer such an assessment test. This was a question I’ve been trying to get answered…how to assess and KNOW whether a student is serious about learning English. I am so glad I received this blog post via the Off2Class email newsletter. I’m curious, how can students access this assessment? Could I post a link to it on my (potential website) so students can click on it and take them directly to the test? Is this test copyrighted or is it free for anyone to use?
    Thanks again! 🙂

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      December 7, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Hi Dara, nice to meet you. Getting an independent income stream through online teaching is a great idea.
      A couple of answers to your questions! 1) Teachers register their students onto Off2Class and assign them the test (takes a couple of clicks). The reason for this is you don’t want to devalue yourself! If students could access the test and results on their own, your ability to use this as a tool to sell your services would be minimized. 2) You can provide the student access to their results but we recommend you hold them back until the student has committed to you. 3) If you become an Off2Class subscriber we will provide you with a promo kit to advertise the use of Off2Class on your website. 4) The placement test is exclusively owned and copyrighted by us, but it’s currently free to use!
      Hope this helps, Kris.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      December 8, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Hi Dara, I should also note we’re co-hosting a webinar next week that goes over a lot of the concepts discussed here. You can register for Free here:

  • Belen says:

    January 31, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    I have a subscription with you guys. I wonder how many placement tests can we send to “ prospective students? Is there a limit per month? Year? How does it work?

    • Regan says:

      February 2, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      Hi there,
      That’s actually a great question to pose in the Off2Class Facebook group to see what other teachers say:

      You can get started on the system and troubleshoot problems by taking a look at our video tutorials and our Quick Answers section for details on every aspect of the system.

      If you have more questions, please check out this webinar recording to get a quick overview of the platform, and also our video tutorials for more detail on every aspect of the system.

      Also feel free to pose a question using our chat widget located on the homepage.

      Happy Teaching!

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