ESL is English Language Acquisition (ELAC)


ELAC GO! is a self assessment tool that will help you determine your English Language Acquisition (ELAC) class(es). Please read and listen carefully, take your time, and answer the best way you can.

Please note that the listening section of the ELAC Go! assessment is not captioned. If you feel that you need an accommodation, please contact the San Diego Community College District offices of Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) at 619 388 6983 (voice), 619 550 3389 (videophone).

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Which campus do you plan to take ELAC classes at?*

What is your educational goal?

How would you describe your reading skills in English?

This is just for practice.

Read the following text and click the best option.

This is just for practice.

Helen’s mother and father were taking her on a long trip to Baltimore, Marland. They took her to a famous doctor who had helped many blind children. They hoped he could help Helen.

After the doctor had tested Helen’s eyes and ears he shook his head. “Helen will always be blind and deaf,” he told her parents. “But she is very intelligent. She can learn. Perhaps Dr. Alexander Graham Bell can help you find someone to teach her.”

The Kellers went to Washington to see Dr. Bell. He was famous as the inventor of the telephone. He had spent many years working to help deaf people.

Helen did not know why they made another visit. She did not know the kind man who held her on his knee. She touched his face and felt his gentle smile. He let Helen hold his watch against her cheek. She could feel it tick.

Dr. Bell told Captain Keller about a school for blind children in Boston, Massachusetts. It was called the Perkins Institute.

“There was a girl named Laura Bridgman who was blind and deaf,” Dr. Bell said. “Dr. Howe at the Perkins school taught her to understand words by spelling with his fingers. He pressed the letters against her hand and showed her how to make each letter of the alphabet with her own fingers. Dr. Howe is dead. You must write to Dr. Anagnos at the Perkins School. Ask him to find a teacher who will help Helen.”

After the journey home to Alabama, Helen lived in the same dark world again. Her mind was like a wild bird in a cage. She still flew into terrible tempers. She did not know that her mother and father were hoping that Dr. Anagnos could send a teacher for her.

Many months passed. Then one spring day Helen felt excitement in the house again. All day she grew more curious. She waited on the front porch until at last she felt the thud of the horse’s hoofs in the drive. The carriage stopped. There was a thump as a heavy suitcase was set down.

Helen felt new footsteps coming toward her. Her curiosity was bursting. She rushed at the stranger and felt a young woman’s arms go around her. Helen’s finger flew over the new face and handbag.

(from Helen Keller -- dell yearling young reader -- by Stewart & Polly Ann Graff)

Salva sat cross-legged on the bench. He kept his head turned toward the front, hands folded, back perfectly straight. Everything about him was paying attention to the teacher – everything except his eyes and his mind.

His eyes kept flicking toward the window, through which he could see the road. The road home. Just a little while longer – a few minutes – and he would be walking on that road.

The teacher droned on with the lesson, about the Arabic language. Salva spoke the language of his Dinka tribe at home. But in school he learned Arabi, the official language of the Sudanese government far away to the north. Eleven years old on his last birthday, Salva was a good student. He already knew the lesson, which was why he was letting his mind wander down the road ahead of his body.

Salva was well aware of how lucky he was to be able to go to school. He could not attend the entire year, because during the dry season his family moved away from their village. But during the rainy season, he could walk to the school, which was only half an hour from his home.

Salva’s father was a successful man. He owned many head of cattle and worked as their village’s judge – an honored, respected position. Salva had three brothers and two sisters. As each boy reached the age of about ten years, he was sent off to school. Salva’s older brothers, Ariik and Ring, had gone to school before him; last year, it had been Salva’s turn. His two sisters, Akrit and Agnath, did not go to school. Like the other girls in the village, they stayed home and learned from their mother how to keep house.

Most of the time, Salva was glad to be able to go to school. But some days he wished he were still back at home herding cattle.

(from Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The problem was that my mother, like most women of her generation, had been only briefly educated. In her era, a girl’s sole purpose in life was to find a husband. Having an education ranked far below more desirable attributes such as the ability to serve tea or prepare baklava. Before her marriage, my mother, Nazireh, had dreamed of becoming a midwife. Her father, a fairly progressive man, had even refused the two earlier suitors who had come for her so that his daughter could pursue her dream. My mother planned to obtain her diploma, then go to Tabriz to learn midwifery from a teacher whom my grandfather knew. Sadly, the teacher died unexpectedly, and my mother’s dreams had to be buried as well.

Bachelor No. 3 was my father. Like the other suitors, he had never spoken to my mother, but one of his cousins knew someone who knew my mother’s sister, so that was enough. More important, my mother fit my father’s physical requirements for a wife. Like most Iranians, my father preferred a fair-skinned woman with straight, light-colored hair. Having spent a year in America as a Fulbright scholar, he had returned with a photo of a woman he found attractive and asked his older sister, Sedigeh, to find someone who resembled her. Sedigeh had asked around, and that is how at age seventeen my mother officially gave up her dreams, married my father, and had a child by the end of the year.

(from Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas)

Old Henry Lee stood transfixed by all the commotion at the Panama Hotel. What had started as a crowd of curious onlookers eyeballing a television news crew had now swollen into a polite mob of shoppers, tourists, and a few punk-looking street kids, all wondering what the big deal was. In the middle of the crowd stood

Henry, shopping bags hanging at his side. He felt as if he were waking from a long forgotten dream. A dream he’d once had as a little boy.

The old Seattle landmark was a place he’d visited twice in his lifetime. First when he was only twelve years old, way back in 1942 – ‘the war years’ he liked to call them. Even then the old bachelor hotel had stood as a gateway between Seattle’s Chinatown and Nihonmachi, Japantown.

Two outposts of an old-world conflict – where Chinese and Japanese immigrants rarely spoke to one another, while their American-born children often played kick the can in the streets together. The hotel had always been a perfect landmark. A perfect meeting place – where he’d once met the love of his life.

The second time was today. It was 1986, what, forty-plus years later? He’d stopped counting the years as they slipped into memory. After all, he’d spent a lifetime between these bookended visits. A marriage. The birth of an ungrateful son. Cancer, and a burial. He missed his wife, Ethel. She’d been gone six months now. But he didn’t miss her as much as you’d think, as bad as that might sound. It was more like quiet relief really. Her health had been bad – no, worse than bad. The cancer in her bones had been downright crippling, to both of us, he thought.

(from Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford)

How would you describe your listening skills in English?

This is just for practice.

Listen to the video and click the best option.

This is just for practice.

This section of ELAC Go! allows you to assess your skill in listening. Please note that for the purposes of this section of the assessment, what you will hear is not captioned. If you feel that you need an accommodation, please contact the San Diego Community College District offices of Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) at 619 388 6983 (voice), 619 550 3389 (videophone).

Based on your responses we recommend the following courses:

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Recommended Course(s)

What's next?

Make an appointment with a counselor at your campus to create an education plan and decide which classes to register for.

If you think the recommended classes are too difficult (placement is too high), you can register for any ELAC classes below your level.

If you have questions or think the recommended classes are too easy (placement is too low), contact the ELAC Chair/Coordinator at your campus.

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