The ESL Program Placement Test (ESLPPT) is given free-of-charge to non-native speakers of English so that they may be appropriately placed in ESL Program courses. Whereas the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), an international test, and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), a national test, are used for university admittance purposes, the ESLPPT is used locally to provide definitive on-campus reassessment of the academic English language proficiency of UMass Amherst students. The test provides reliable information about the level of language expertise of students at the intermediate and advanced levels and higher.

For the most part, the students who take the ESLPPT are newcomers to the United States, having been here for five years or less after graduating from American high schools or foreign universities with undergraduate degrees. Students who have been in the United States longer than five years may also take the ESLPPT.

Students who take the ESLPPT may be Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, or Seniors pursuing undergraduate degrees or PhD candidates involved in professional training and research. In addition, international exchange students, 5-College students, and university employees (with undergraduate degrees from a foreign university) may take the test.

Students may take the ESLPPT at different times: 1) as directed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office, 2) on the first day of their ESL Program classes or 3) on an individual appointment basis in the ESL Program Office upon the recommendation of an accademic advisor or an academic discipline professor or department chairperson.