Case study

HEI Lille

HEI Lille prepares its students for success in a global professional context and confirms their English proficiency with TOEIC tests.

With its slogan "Engineers for the World," the engineering school HEI Lille has continuously adapted to societal and environmental challenges since its founding in 1885. This vision is reflected in data from the 2019 IESF survey, revealing that nearly 1 in 6 engineers work abroad, highlighting the school's commitment to training students with multiple skills and an international outlook.

Meet John Arlon, Educational Manager, who has been using TOEIC tests for four years to evaluate nearly 600 engineersing graduation candidates annually.

The Importance of English Proficiency for Engineering Students

With the emergence of new fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence and data science, plus the constant evolution of technologies, international communication is an essential aspect of an engineer's work. Thus, whether participating in international projects and/or exporting French technologies and expertise, a young engineer will undoubtedly need to communicate in English.

Mr. Arlon emphasizes this point to his students: "Today, being an engineer means working internationally and with international partners. I explain to them that even if they don't work abroad, they will still have to work with people of different nationalities: suppliers, clients, etc., and therefore they will need to speak, write emails, prepare reports, have discussions, hold interviews in English, etc."

For these reasons, the Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs (CTI), an independent body responsible for evaluating French engineering schools, mandates a minimum level of English proficiency to validate an engineering degree. The minimum required level is B2 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which corresponds to at least 785 points on the TOEIC Listening and Reading test.

Choosing the TOEIC Certification

HEI Lille trains engineers in a variety of fields such as textiles, construction, electronics, and smart cities. The school also emphasizes international exposure by offering several courses entirely in English and promoting experiences abroad (university exchange programs, internships, humanitarian projects, etc.).

Given the TOEIC tests' alignment with the needs of the international market, Mr. Arlon chose to implement this certification within the school to assess the students' English proficiency. With over 14,000 organizations in 160 countries trusting it, the TOEIC certification is widely recognized worldwide.

Comprehensive Preparation for the TOEIC® Listening and Reading Test

In the training program for engineering students, they must receive a score of at least 785 out of 990 points on the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test by the end of their fourth year to progress to the fifth year. This condition is necessary to participate in exchanges abroad and obtain internship agreements.

Students' English proficiency is assessed from the third year to determine if they can take the TOEIC Listening and Reading test before their fourth year. English courses, conducted for 18 hours per semester, are supplemented by access to a digital learning path, which offers self-paced preparation for the TOEIC test. Students with lower proficiency levels also receive additional English classes, providing tailored support to meet their individual needs. This approach aims to ensure comprehensive preparation for students to achieve the minimum required score on the TOEIC test and validate their engineering degree.

Students' success

Mr. Arlon shares his pride in seeing students who initially struggled with English go on to succeed in reaching a B2 level on the test. He reminds students that the need to master English goes beyond academic context, as this linguistic skill is a valuable asset in the job market: "Mastering English is their passport to success."

The 2021 barometer data of TOEIC Listening and Reading test candidates in France reveals that candidates studying Engineering/Architecture are the most represented and also have the highest scores on the test (796/990 points). This success demonstrates the importance of English in the field of engineering and reinforces Mr. Arlon's message about the value of English proficiency in students' professional achievements.

Working with ETS

Beyond the international recognition of TOEIC tests, Mr. Arlon also reveals his satisfaction with the convenient tools and processes offered by ETS Global, as well as the use of TOEIC scores. The school has been using the digital score report for over a year to transmit TOEIC scores to students: "Students receive their results directly electronically, providing a convenient and secure solution. It saves time, and this innovation has greatly facilitated things. I highly recommend it."


We warmly thank Mr. John Arlon for taking the time to grant us this interview.