Case study

Instituto Irlandés de Monterrey, México

Luis Garza, Coordinador de Programas Internacionales

Instituto Irlandés de Monterrey was founded in September 1968 on 6 hectares of land with more than 50,000 square meters of green areas with wildlife habitat and regional plant species.

Member of Semper Altius Network. In alliance with Oak International Academies and the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC), as well as the Institute of International Education (IIE-Mexico).

  • School Type: Private, differentiated education (male students only)
  • Size: More than 1,000 students from Pre-K to K-12
  • Teacher-Student ratio: Elementary and junior high is 1:19

The school provides an integral formation to students from preschool, lower elementary, upper elementary, junior high school and high school.

The school also offers an International Programme, with the authorisation of the College Board and the training and certification of their teachers, which contains pre-university “Advanced Placement” AP® in areas such as calculus AB, biology, physics B&C, English language, Spanish language, world history, chemistry, and computer science A.

Institution’s Situation

What was the initial need or pain point to select a third-party test like the TOEFL Junior® test?

  • The main driver to use the TOEFL Junior® test was to be able to test students’ skills in an international context and with a recognised external organisation.

Who was involved in the decision-making process to adopt the TOEFL Junior test?

  • Teachers play an important role in cooperation with Programme Coordinators, since they work together to prepare students for their next level of studies.
  • Teachers, Coordinators and Vice Principals with the internal academic organisation (ICIF) decide and promote curriculum changes and textbook adoptions based on a continuous improvement programme of research.

Decision-Making Process

How did the institution hear about the test?

  • Information about the TOEFL Junior® tests was gathered from
  • Contacted the ETS in-country representative, who introduced all of the information about the TOEFL Junior Standard test.

What were the other options before selecting the TOEFL Junior test?

  • The school was applying to use Cambridge tests.
  • They use Cambridge tests in elementary school and now the TOEFL Junior test in middle school.

How were parents a part of the decision-making process?

  • The school scheduled a meeting to introduce the TOEFL Junior test to parents.
  • From the initial stages, parents liked the offering, but it was the students who decided to take the test as they really wanted to accomplish taking the test and receiving the certificate as a part of completion and recognition.
  • Parents paid the test fee.

Project Implementation

How did the school prepare for the test?

  • The school had the Handbook and students had the option to read it if they chose to in order to prepare for the test.

How did you administer the test?

  • 2012 was the initial year using the test for Instituto Irlandés de Monterrey.
  • Our school offered it as an optional test for students in 2012 at the end of the school year.
  • Out of 109 middle-school students, 80 signed up and took the TOEFL Junior Standard Test in a group setting.

Solution Results

What type of changes took place in classroom instruction based on the feedback of the test?

  • Based on the results of the test, the school is reinforcing some things like assessment format familiarisation.
  • The scores help identify the skill areas that students need to polish and improve.
  • The school is part of a network of schools that use the same curriculum, so making major changes to the curriculum is difficult.
  • But the network may decide to use this test in other schools, as other schools have already shown interest in the TOEFL Junior® test.

Solution Benefits

How did the score reports help?

  • TOEFL Junior® score reports helped provide feedback to parents that the school English programmes meet or exceed the international standards of the TOEFL Junior test.
  • The score reports helped support discussions with parents, but they are ultimately knowledge for the student.
  • Score report information and feedback is helpful to students.
  • Parents use the scores to show students’ proficiency level to summer programmes in the United States.

Since using the TOEFL Junior test, how has the feedback helped students?

  • Students have used feedback to develop skills in which outcomes were low on the TOEFL Junior test.

How has the TOEFL Junior® test helped teachers with instruction in the classroom?

  • Teachers have received feedback after using the TOEFL Junior Standard Test as it relates to the success of their English programmes.

How does the TOEFL Junior test bring value to the school?

  • The TOEFL Junior test is a good way of knowing if students are prepared enough for the next steps of English learning after middle school.
  • The institution feels more confident because they believe in the TOEFL® brand and now they have proof to show that students are prepared.

What was the overall benefit for the school in using the TOEFL Junior test?

  • Recognising the proficiency of students.
  • Teachers’ efforts to develop strong skills in English as a second language.


After administering the test for the first time, the results from the test were successful…

  • Students obtained excellent feedback and they felt more comfortable with their English abilities. At the same time, parents strengthened their perception of their children’s English proficiency when obtaining a certificate from ETS (Gold, Silver and Bronze).
  • English teachers built up confidence in developing competencies for their students. The teachers achieved their goals of using formative and intellectual approaches, and after the results, can take one step further in creating a better environment within a stimulating atmosphere where students will pursue their own goals.
  • Now the school administers the test to all middle school English language learning students in order to discover and develop full potential within each student.

Any recommendations for improving the programme?

  • A four-skills test is of great interest!