Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE)
Gordy Hall 155
Dr. Christopher Thompson, Chair, Department of Linguistics
Dr. Gerard Krzic, Director of OPIE
The Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) at Ohio University has been providing English language instruction to international students since 1967. OPIE is accredited through the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), which is a specialized accrediting agency for post-secondary intensive English language programs and institutions. OPIE is also a member of the University Consortium of Intensive English Programs (UCIEP), a professional organization that oversees university-based intensive English programs in the United States. The mission of OPIE is to raise the English language proficiency level and intercultural fluency of non-native speakers who will use English for academic study at institutions of higher education and/or professional purposes. The OPIE mission consists of five components: Teaching, Testing, Orientation/Cross-Cultural Support, Program Development, and the Training and Supervision of Teaching Associates.
OPIE offers three levels of full-time English study and two levels of part-time English study in its Bridge Levels (a combination of English and academic studies), which include the University Success (U.S.) Pathway Program for students pursuing undergraduate academic studies at Ohio University. Students are placed into a particular level based on the results of the OPIE Composition exam* and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Institutional Testing Program (ITP), a paper-based test conducted upon a student’s arrival to Ohio University. This test has three sub-tests: listening, structure/written expression, and reading. U.S. Pathway students can also submit English language proficiency scores, such as TOEFL iBT and IELTS scores, for direct entry to the Pathway Program.
*The OPIE Composition rubric can be found in the OPIE Handbook.
I. Full-time English Study Levels
Full-time English study consists of twenty hours of OPIE-only classroom instruction per week, augmented with structured and independent use of reading, writing, pronunciation, and computer labs. Students at the full-time levels do not take academic courses. Each full-time level is comprised of two component courses depending on sufficient student enrollment (e.g. the Intermediate Level consists of Intermediate and High-Intermediate component courses). One course addresses lower to middle-level skill abilities, while the other addresses middle to higher-level skill abilities at that specific stage of English study. Completion of both component courses is not required. Instead, students are placed into levels and courses based on evidence of their entry-level and subsequent end-of-semester English proficiency.
The following information describes each level with a typical TOEFL ITP score and the minimum amount of time a student can expect to study English prior to beginning either part-time or full-time academic studies. Three semesters of study (42 weeks) is equal to one calendar year (i.e., Fall, Spring, Summer semesters).
Elementary Level: OPIE D100/D200, D101/D201, D102/D202
Students entering the Elementary Level typically have the following language test scores:
- TOEFL ITP: 399 and below
- OPIE Composition: 1A/1B
- English Placement Test: 50 and below.
Assuming normal progress in their language coursework, students at this level can expect to study three semesters (42 weeks) of English before beginning at least part-time academic and part-time English coursework in the OPIE Bridge Levels.
The OPIE Elementary Level consists of two components: the Foundations Course and the Elementary Course, which are offered pending sufficient student enrollment. Students in the Foundations Course receive instruction in beginning listening and speaking skills along with appropriate communicative responses, with out-of-class exposure to native speakers in the form of field trips and daily situational encounters. Appropriate phrases and structures for daily use are introduced along with the basic cultural elements that make beginning communication possible. Students are familiarized with the basics of the English alphabet and handwriting. Beginning level sentence patterns are introduced as well as the rudiments of English punctuation. Basic English literacy skills are presented with materials appropriate for adult learners.
The Elementary Course focuses on learning American English for effective communication both inside and outside the classroom. While grammatical structures and interactional listening/speaking skills are emphasized, reading and writing are gradually introduced along with study skills.
Intermediate Level: OPIE D300/400, D301/D401, D302/D402
Students entering the OPIE Intermediate Level typically have the following language test scores:
- TOEFL ITP: 400 to 449
- OPIE Composition: 2A/2B
- English Placement Test: 51 to 64.
Assuming normal progress in their language coursework, students at this level can expect to study two semesters (28 weeks) of English before beginning at least part-time academic and part-time English coursework in the OPIE Bridge Levels.
The OPIE Intermediate Level consists of two components: the Intermediate Course and the High-Intermediate Course, which are offered pending sufficient student enrollment. Classes are designed for preparing students aiming at academic study. Students develop fluency and accuracy in oral skills and pronunciation with focus on transactional activities and extended discourse. Paragraph level writing competency is developed as students expand grammatical knowledge and explore the process of writing, and write longer pieces of text. Reading comprehension and vocabulary acquire greater emphasis with more attention to academic vocabulary and text organization.
Advanced Level: OPIE D500/600, D701, D702
Students entering this level typically have the following language test scores:
- TOEFL ITP: 450 to 499
- OPIE Composition: 3A/3B
- English Placement Test: 65 and above.
Assuming normal progress in their language coursework, students can expect to study one semester (14 weeks) of English before beginning at least part-time academic and part-time English coursework in the OPIE Bridge Levels.
The OPIE Advanced Level consists of two components: the Advanced Course and the Pre-Academic Course, which are offered pending sufficient student enrollment. Students at this level do not take academic courses unless given special permission. Advanced students incorporate understanding of grammatical structures, appropriate vocabulary, and organization into formally developed essays. More emphasis is placed on rhetorical modes and developing editing skills. Reading comprehension and lexical skill development is emphasized along with the improvement of reading rate. Students learn to synthesize the various skills and strategies to which they have been exposed. Listening and speaking skill activities rely more heavily on actual academic task simulation and university level expectations.
II. Bridge Levels (Part-time English and Part-time Academic Study Levels) *
* The Bridge Levels include both the U.S. Pathway Program for students pursuing undergraduate academic studies at Ohio University, and 16-Hour Bridge studies for students pursuing graduate studies or with other academic goals. Class hours at the Bridge Levels are supplemented by structured and independent use of reading, writing, pronunciation, and computer labs.
12-Hour Bridge Level (Pathway Level 1)
8-hour OPIE D960
4-hour OPIE D804
1-hour UC 1900 course
5-7 credit hours of academic classes
Students entering this level typically have the following language test scores:
- TOEFL ITP: 500 to 512 (500 to 524 for undergraduates conditionally admitted to the College of Business)
- OPIE Composition: 4
- TOEFL iBT: 61-64 with all subscores 14 or higher
- IELTS: 5.5 composite.
Assuming normal progress in their language coursework, students can expect to study two semesters (28 weeks) of English before beginning full-time academic coursework.
The 12-hour Bridge Level (Pathway Level 1) offers part-time support courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) for students taking 5-7 academic credit hours in two general education courses, which all Pathway Program students take together as a cohort. The ESL support courses utilize the concepts, vocabulary, and instructional materials of these general education courses as the content for English language skills development, including academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students also take OPIE 804 Grammar for Writing, which focuses on applying advanced grammar skills to academic writing assignments. In the OPIE courses, twelve hours of classroom instruction are provided per week—eight hours in support courses and four hours in Grammar for Writing. Instruction is supplemented with self-access in reading, writing, pronunciation, and computer labs. Students improve language skills, as well as academic performance and study skills. In addition, students take UC 1900 Learning Community Seminar.
8-Hour Bridge Level (Pathway Level 2)
8-hour OPIE D970
9-10 credit hours of academic classes
Students entering this level typically have the following language test scores:
- TOEFL ITP: 513 to 524 (525 to 549 for undergraduates conditionally admitted to the College of Business)
- OPIE Composition: 5
- TOEFL iBT: 65-70 with all subscores 15 or higher
- IELTS: 5.5 composite with all band scores 5.5 or higher.
Assuming normal progress in their language coursework, students at this level can expect to study one semester (14 weeks) of English before beginning full-time academic coursework.
The 8-hour Bridge Level (Pathway Level 2) offers part-time support courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) for students taking 9-10 academic credit hours—two general education courses as part of the U.S. Pathway Program cohort and one 3-4 credit hour course taken independently with support services offered by OPIE, the Academic Achievement Center, and/or other appropriate university resources. The ESL support courses for the U.S. Pathway cohort classes utilize the concepts, vocabulary, and instructional materials of these general education courses as the content for English language skills development, including academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In the OPIE courses, eight hours of classroom instruction are provided per week. Instruction is supplemented with self-access in reading, writing, pronunciation, and computer labs. Students improve language skills, as well as academic performance and study skills.
The 8-hour Bridge Level (U.S. Pathway 2) is normally followed by full-time academic studies. Students may be required to complete an additional semester of part-time language study in the 8-hour Bridge Level (U.S. Pathway Level 3). Some students may also be required to study at the 4-hour Bridge Level (4-hour Pathway) if composition test scores fall below 5, taking a single ESL support course and partnered general education course alongside other independently-chosen academic coursework.
III. Chart of OPIE Levels and Length of Time for Studying English
The following chart summarizes the information above, including each level with the typical entry-level TOEFL ITP score and the minimum amount of time a student can expect to study English prior to beginning either part-time or full-time academic studies. Three semesters of study (42 weeks) is equal to one calendar year (i.e., Fall, Spring, Summer semesters).
Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) Levels & Duration of English Study Guidelines
If entering OPIE at this level expect to study ESL for:
w/ Other Tests*
Full-Time Pre-Academic English Studies
OPE D100/D200, D101/D201, D102/D202
50 and below
3 semesters (42 weeks) until part-time academic studies
iBT: 20 – 31
OPIE D300/D400, D301/D401, D302/D402
2 semesters (28 weeks) until part-time academic studies
iBT: 32 - 45
OPIE D500/D600, D701, D702
1 semester(14 weeks) until part-time academic studies
iBT: 46 – 60
Includes English + Academic Studies
12 Hours of English
+ OPIE D804
+ 5-7 academic credit hours
+ 1-hour UC 1900
2 semesters (28 weeks) until full-time academic studies
iBT: 61 - 64
8 Hours of English
+ 9-10 academic credit hours
1 semester (14 weeks) until full-time academic studies
iBT: 65 - 70
Begin Academic Studies
Students with a composition score less than 6 take English D160;
Students with a composition score of 6 take English 1610.
(writing subscore of 17)
IELTS: 6.0 (no subscores below 6.0)
* While the TOEFL iBT and IELTS are accepted by Undergraduate Admissions for admission into full time academic study, they are not accepted for placement into full-time OPIE. Students may, however, use TOEFL iBT and IELTS scores for direct entry to the Pathway Program. Students who have scores below the requirement for Pathway Program admission will be asked to take the TOEFL ITP upon arrival. The College of Business only accepts the TOEFL ITP from OPIE students.
** Business College requires higher scores: 550 TOEFL ITP for full entrance.
iBT = Internet Based TOEFL
IELTS = International English Language Testing Services
IV. Conditional and Provisional Admission to Ohio University
All international students (non-native speakers of English) who plan to obtain an undergraduate or graduate degree from Ohio University must demonstrate the required English proficiency, which varies based on the academic program and level of study (undergraduate or graduate). Students should submit an official record of English proficiency so that it is posted on their Ohio University Student Record prior to their enrollment. Please, see the following links for more details on each level of entry:
a) Undergraduate programs: http://www.ohio.edu/admissions/international/English.cfm
b) Graduate programs: https://www.ohio.edu/graduate/apply/index.cfm
Students who do not meet the admission requirements for English proficiency must take the TOEFL ITP upon arrival. Prospective undergraduate students who do not achieve a score of 525 (550 with sub scores of at least 52 for students who intend to study in the College of Business) must enroll in OPIE until they meet the enrollment criteria. Graduate students who do not meet the English proficiency requirements of their department must also enroll in OPIE. Ohio University offers conditional admission for English proficiency to undergraduate students, and provisional admission to graduate students.
Students whose test results make them eligible to enroll in academic classes part-time must also enroll in part-time English language coursework in OPIE. The language I-20 will not change unless a student fully matriculates into the intended academic degree program, i.e. meet the English proficiency requirement. Undergraduate students may receive full-time admission to Ohio University in two ways:
a) successful completion of required OPIE classes:
- Initially complete OPIE’s 8-hour Bridge Level (U.S. Pathway Level 2) with a B- or higher (College of Business students must earn an A- or higher) or
- Repeat OPIE’s 8-hour Bridge Level (U.S. Pathway Level 3) with a grade of C or higher (College of Business students must earn an A- or higher)
b) Attainment of the required test scores as determined by the specific college/department/program.
Graduate students must achieve the standardized test scores required by their academic department.
V. Features of the OPIE
A. Program of Study
OPIE classes are small, and instructors pay special attention to student needs. Participation and the practical use of spoken and written English are emphasized.
B. Extracurricular OPIE Activities
OPIE offers the students numerous extracurricular activities that are designed to develop students’ language, multicultural, and social skills (see chart below).The programs and activities vary from year to year depending upon interest and availability.
Examples of Extracurricular Activities for OPIE Students
Global Conversation Partners
Non-OPIE students attending Ohio University are invited to become conversation partners for all full-time OPIE students. Students spend at least one hour each week speaking English with their conversation partners.
International Conversation Hour
OPIE students gather with other people from Ohio University and practice their English skills in an informal fun atmosphere. The International Conversation Hour is open to all Ohio University students. It is an excellent opportunity to make friends from other countries and enjoy talking to people about different topics.
OPIE Lecture Series
OPIE students gain a valuable experience hearing academic lectures, practicing note-taking, and engaging in discussions through attending this series of lectures. The lectures, given by university and community members, aim at helping the students adjust to university life, learn about activities and organizations at Ohio University and in Athens, and become aware of some important issues in the community.
OPIE Ambassadors is an organization of students who represent OPIE for the purpose of improving their language learning experience and leadership skills. OPIE Ambassadors represent OPIE at other Ohio University events, plan activities and projects for OPIE students, and communicate with many kinds of people from all over campus, both inside and outside of OPIE.
The Ongoing Orientation is for Intermediate Level students. Students attend a series of workshops in which they interact with domestic students, practice their English conversational skills, and learn more about the campus and services provided to them as Ohio University students.
International Cultural Understanding Certificate (ICUC)
The pursuit of this certificate broadens students’ cultural experiences and helps them gain other important professional skills for the future. By participating in the activities associated with the ICUC, students have the chance to build upon their cultural competency, learn about different ways of life, and improve their ability to communicate with a variety of people.
This certificate is open to all Ohio University students.
This is a series of workshops in which students learn healthy habits for staying physically fit and have the opportunity to play sports like handball, soccer, tennis, etc.
C. Self-Access Day
On Wednesdays, OPIE students attend a variety of activities listed in the chart above. There, they learn about the American culture and the expectations of studying at Ohio University. In addition, students can work individually in the Language Resource Center (LRC), access the reading and pronunciation laboratories, or meet with instructors to work on individual needs.
D. Language Labs
Three types of language labs are used by OPIE students. These include:
• Reading Lab, in which students practice techniques to increase vocabulary, reading comprehension and reading speed.
• Pronunciation Lab, in which students work one-on-one with a tutor to improve pronunciation and listening comprehension.
• Writing Lab, in which students at the advanced level work one-on-one with a tutor to improve grammar and writing skills.
E. OPIE Faculty
All OPIE instructors are professionally qualified and experienced in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). All members of the faculty hold a Ph.D. or an M.A. degree in either in Applied Linguistics/TESL or Education. Teaching Associates (TAs) in the program are graduate students in the Department of Linguistics with prior experience teaching English to non-native speakers. These students are closely supervised by senior OPIE faculty.
F. OPIE Advising
OPIE offers advising services to its students. Advisors help students understand U.S. culture and the higher education system, prepare students for the academic registration process, and solve problems students might experience upon arrival to the U.S. OPIE also connects students with various on-campus resources and services, such as the International Student and Faculty Services, the Counseling Center, the Allen Student Advising Center, the Academic Achievement Center, etc.
VI. OPIE Policies
A. Credit/No Credit; Academic Probation
OPIE expects all students to be active, prepared participants in classes. As it is important for non-native speakers of English to improve their English as quickly as possible in order to begin their academic studies, OPIE has the following regulations.
- Credit/No Credit Policy (Homework and Attendance Requirements): All OPIE students should complete 90% of homework assignments and attend 90% of all classes each semester. OPIE calculates the cumulative number of absences and homework assignments at the end of the semester for each student.
- Any student failing to achieve 90% in one or both of these areas will receive a grade of No Credit (NC) and be placed on Academic Probation at the end of the semester.
- Students who are on Academic Probation should not make travel plans to leave the United States at the end of each subsequent semester until they know that they will not be receiving No Credit for a second time. They are also required to meet with an OPIE advisor to discuss their Academic Probation.
- Any student who receives No Credit for any two semesters will be dismissed from OPIE and Ohio University. Students who receive notice that they will be dismissed according to this policy may appeal the decision by submitting a Dismissal Appeal Form for No Credit.This form has to be submitted to the OPIE office before 12:00 pm on Friday of the University final exam week. The appeal form is located on the OPIE website or can be requested through an OPIE advisor. The statement of appeal should describe any unusual circumstances that contributed to the student’s no credit. OPIE will review the appeal and render a decision by 5:00 pm on Friday of the University final exam week.
- International students who are dismissed or anticipate being dismissed should meet with an advisor at the Office of International Student and Faculty Services to discuss their immigration status.
- Dismissed students can either: a) transfer to another academic institution or b) return to their home country.
- Dismissed students who have transferred to another academic institution and desire to re-apply to Ohio University and OPIE should have completed at least 20 semester hours (30 quarter hours) of classes and achieved at least a 2.75 grade point average at the other academic institution to be eligible for re-admission.
B. Academic Misconduct
OPIE follows Ohio University’s policies on academic misconduct. For more details see the OPIE Student Handbook.
C. Lack of Progress and Dismissal
Students in OPIE are expected to make satisfactory progress in the development of their language skills. At the end of each semester, students are expected to advance to the next level in the program (e.g., Intermediate to Advanced). No student may repeat a level more than twice. If the student fails to advance to a higher level (e.g., Intermediate to Advanced) after taking a level for the third time, he/she will be dismissed from OPIE and Ohio University.
For students in Bridge studies, passing any class counts as making progress for the semester, even if the student fails and must repeat other classes taken that semester. However, students will not be permitted to take any class more than three times. A student who fails the same Bridge class three times will be dismissed from OPIE and Ohio University unless he/she has valid test scores that qualify him/her to advance.
Students who receive notice that they will be dismissed according to this policy may appeal the decision by submitting a Dismissal Appeal Form for Lack of Progress to the OPIE office by 12:00 pm on Friday of the University final exam week. This Statement of Appeal should describe any unusual circumstances that contributed to the student’s lack of progress. OPIE will review the appeal and make a decision by 5:00 pm on Friday of the University final exam week (the same day). The Dismissal Appeal Form is available at http://linguistics.ohio.edu/opie/?page_id=2619. See your OPIE Advisor with any questions.
If a student is dismissed, he/she will need to return home or transfer his/her I-20 to another institution.
College of Business (COB) students should complete their OPIE English studies within six semesters of study, or they will need to change their major from the College of Business.
For additional information on the Ohio Program of Intensive English and its policies, visit the website www.ohio.edu/linguistics/opie, call 740.593.4575, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.