Culture and Intensive English Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the course grades? 

Course grades show your level of English proficiency (ability).  In the CIEP, we use the ABCF scale, similar to the scale at the University of Northern Iowa.  The letter represents your ability and what you are and are not able to do in English.  The percentage weight given to each test or quiz is based on the importance in meeting course outcomes.  The teacher has the right to change these percentages at any time.  These percentage ranges are designed to give some flexibility to instructors in how they meet program outcomes.

A  97-100, A  93-96, A-  90-92, B+  87-89, B  83-86, B-  80-82, C+  77-79, C  73-76,  F   <73%

What is Passing?  

An average of 73% / C or higher in a course means the student has made satisfactory progress and shows a student has met learning objectives/outcomes.  This means you can pass to the next level of this class.

What is Failing?  

An average of 72% or lower shows failure to make satisfactory progress and shows a student has not met learning objectives/outcomes.  This means you need more time to learn.  You  need to take this class again.

When are the midterm and final exams?

The CIEP has a midterm and final exam schedule. CIEP students must take their tests on these scheduled dates. Therefore, you need to check the CIEP calendar before making your travel plans. Final exams are given during the last week of the 8-week term. Exams are not given before or after this time unless you have an emergency. If you miss final exams, it will affect your final grade for the class.

Why don’t I have a grade for homework?  

Homework is your chance to practice.  Homework is your chance to make a mistake BEFORE you take a quiz or a test.  This is why teachers do not usually give big grades on homework.  For example, do you remember the first time you ever drove a car?  Do you want the driver license officers to grade you on your first drive in a car?  Also, in the university, professors rarely grade homework exercises.  The professor is giving you a chance to practice on difficult problems before you take a test.  When you make a big mistake on the homework, it’s no problem.  Why?  You have a chance to learn from the mistake and not get a bad grade!  Finally, you are adults.  It is your choice to do your practice or not.  However, some people who don’t do homework might fail a class and have to repeat it.

I got an A in one quiz, but I failed the class.  That’s not fair. 

Congratulations, you did a great job on your quiz.  However, what was your final exam grade?  What was your midterm exam grade?  Did you finish all your essays and paragraphs?  Your grade depends on many things, not one quiz.

I talk a lot in class.  Why are my grades bad? 

Teachers love talking students.  Imagine: You have to teach a group of students and they say NOTHING.  That’s difficult!  However, talking in class has to be about the subject in class.  The talking has to help learn how to give a speech, take notes, help a classmate or learn pronunciation.  Conversation is a good thing, but it doesn’t help your grade.

I work hard.  Why did I get an F? 

We know many people work hard, but for some reason they don’t learn.  That’s OK, because some people need more time to learn than others.  However, we can’t let you pass into the next level for working hard.  Teachers ask one simple question:  Do students know English at this level or NOT?

This class is too easy. 

On the first two days of class, we will do a lot of review and take many exams.  Why do we do this?  This is like going to a doctor.  A doctor takes your blood, hits your knee and looks into your mouth and ears to learn about your health.  We want to know about your language ability, so we can design a class just for you.  Don’t worry, the class will get more difficult. 

How can I improve my English ability?

  • Take an active role in your education.  You have to do your laundry by yourself.  Therefore, you have to learn by yourself
  • Open your mind. Look around. You are in a new country and a new environment.  Open your mind to the experience.  Remember: When in Rome, do like the Romans.  Are you a tourist or a student?
  • Time is money!  Therefore, plan your life!  Keep a planner and write down all of your homework.
  • Establish a good rapport with your instructors/professors in the classes you take. Your professors can’t be your friends.  They will be your teachers and will help you IF you help them. 
  • Help yourself, your friends and your family.  It is good to help your friends and family.  However, don’t hurt yourself.  Are you absent a lot because you have to help friends and family?  Do your friends ask you to miss a lot of class to help them?  If you are, then you are not helping anyone.  You help people now but you hurt them and yourself later.
  • Respect your teachers and classmates:
  • Do your homework – athletes need to train, musicians need to rehearse, students need to practice.
  • Participate in group activities – practice the new things you have learned!
  • Prepare for your group activities – your classmates depend on you.
  • Come to class on time – your classmates depend on you.
  • Come to your appointments with teachers on time – if you are often late, we think you don’t respect us.
  • Leave your problems with other people outside of the class – we have to live together on this planet and the classroom.  There are differences between people and there will always be differences.  An educated person understands these differences and learns.
  • Turn off your cell phone.  It is considered very low class to let your cell phone ring.  It is considered very low class to talk on your cell phone in class. 
  • Turn off your iPod/MP3 player.  Put your earphones away.  It’s rude to listen to music during class.
  • Write and speak about what you know and what you want to know more about.
  • Review your textbook every day.
  • Do all homework assignments – this is your chance to practice – therefore, your teacher will not grade you on your practice.  We believe that you are adults and we don’t need to supervise your practice. 
  • Attend class regularly (a low attendance score can have a negative impact on your final grade). 
  • Participate in class discussions and ask questions – participating in class is how your teacher learns about your ability.
  • Form a study group with other class members (i.e., do your own work but check answers with others who have also done the assignment).
  • Reread chapter in the textbook after going through exercises in class.
  • Make an appointment to see the teacher if your exam or assignment score is lower than you expected (but don't wait until the end of semester to become concerned about exam scores!).
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