There have been a number of recent news articles about the changing relationship between Chinese students and American universities. In the past, such students tended to be well-qualified graduate students sponsored by the Chinese government and living on tight budgets.

More recently, the resources of a burgeoning Chinese middle class have given parents the ability to send their children abroad to study. Unlike their predecessors, many of the students are less prepared and are entering undergraduate rather than graduate programs. At this time, they seem to care more about the reputation of the school than finding programs that fit their capabilities. As a consequence, according to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone—owing primarily to poor grades and cheating.

This issue is not just confined to Chinese students. Some Montana Tech students from Saudi Arabia who were caught in a cheating scandal back in 2012 were reportedly offered flights home to avoid arrest according to a local report.

This is where Merit Software comes in. By using Merit programs, the English language skills of Chinese and other international students can be improved to make study abroad more accessible and beneficial. Several Chinese students in U.S. schools have benefited from the Merit’s Grammar Fitness and Confused Word Fix-Up products.

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college preparation, english language learning, esl, increasing student achievement
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  1. Oh boy, does this sound familiar. I recently retired after teaching ESL in an adult school for 13 yrs. I’ll never forget my first exposure to cheating. The student was a nurse in China and the course ESL beginning-high. There was no need for her to cheat in non-credit courses. But there it was. Colleagues reported multiple attempts to photograph state test materials. Finally, after scoring the speaking portion of the TOEFL for 3 yrs. we’ve had a number of instances when raters were warned to be on the lookout for duplicate responses between test-takers. After getting to know so many students from mainland China I’ve concluded that many young Chinese students overestimate their readiness for higher education in the U.S. True, they were probably very successful in their home country, but they don’t take the need to work hard to learn English seriously. They don’t recognize a shift in instruction to small group projects and away from reliance solely on lecture and printed materials. Until they understand that, they’ll continue to have serious problems in U.S. institutions of higher learning.

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