Academic Study with University Undergraduates in Mexico

Partnership between ABA English & Monterrey Institute of Technology

Barcelona, 14 March 2016.- The award-winning online English academy, ABA English, and Mexico’s number 1 private university, Monterrey Institute of Technology, have partnered to explore initiatives that improve the English knowledge of university students in their final year.

As prerequisite for graduation, with the aim of preparing their university students for the job market, Monterrey Institute of Technology requires each student to obtain an upper intermediate English level-B2- through an internationally recognized exam. 

Currently, 26 of the university’s Campuses are authorized by Cambridge University to prepare and examine for BULATS -Business Language Testing Service-. This test was developed by Cambridge University and is one of the most widely used in the professional world to identify the English level of job applicants. 

The Professional Division Language Coordinator at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Cuernavaca, Master Maria Elizabeth Cruz Flores, designed and directs this first joint project with ABA English. Her work “e-Activities that Boost Students’ Employability” – which describes strategies used in the classroom to promote student reflection and independence as well as how to acquire soft skills when learning English for work purposes- was chosen to be presented at the Reimagine Education event last December 2015, along with ten other projects developed by other professors at Monterrey Institute of Technology.

The first project with ABA English is a comparative study of Monterrey Institute of Technology last-year students from several campuses, who, during their last quarter prior to graduation are preparing to take the BULATS exam, among other subjects.

The comparative study is conducted among two groups: (i) +ABA Group: learn English the usual way reinforced with the ABA English course; and (ii) Standard Group: learn English the usual way without ABA English course.

The +ABA Group students who have the extra learning support belong to five campuses located in the same number of Mexican states. It’s important to note that all participating students already have a B1 level of English and are finishing all types of degrees, such as Engineering, Marketing, Business Management, etc. The results obtained by the +ABA Group of students will be compared to those of the Standard Group from the same campuses.

The ABA English course provides highly practical content based on film-quality videos and aimed to practice with exercises that enhance the four language skills, in particular speaking English. According to Maria Elizabeth Cruz, “The ABA videos allow students to grasp grammatical items easily as they watch people in every-day situations using them in appealing dialogues.”

In the ABA English course, speaking is practiced in effective and original ways, for example by roleplaying and interpreting film characters. These techniques allow the student to gain confidence and autonomy using the language and to get used to different English accents. “As the saying goes ’Practice makes the master’ and ABA is a great tool to extend class-time for English speaking practice,” concludes the director of this project.

Scope of the Partnership

This first study marks the start of what is expected to become a long-term partnership for both institutions, a collaboration seeking mutual development. The quantitative and qualitative results to be gained in the coming months will serve to evaluate ABA’s impact on the Monterrey Institute of Technology students as well as establish the foundation for future collaboration.

“From a didactic perspective, for ABA English,” said Maria Perillo, Chief Learning Officer, “the data to be collected from this first study will help us make improvements to the product. We also expect further gains from our continued collaboration, such as helping us to develop a predictive learning model based on the results and habits of the students who achieve the best grades.”

About Monterrey Institute of Technology

Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), popularly called Tecnológico de Monterrey, is the leading private university in Mexico (according to QS Ranking) and has 31 campuses in various parts of the country. It is one of Latin America’s universities with the highest academic recognition and one of the top 100 worldwide. It is very active as a business school as well as in the areas of engineering, technology and innovation. In total it offers 54 degrees, 32 of which can be studied internationally.

In fact, technology and innovation are areas in which Monterrey Institute of Technology stands out thanks to its constant effort to introduce the most innovative teaching methods, to develop human capital through education and technology and to promote scientific research and entrepreneurial initiatives among its students, all aiming to contribute to Mexico’s development.

About ABA English

ABA English –American & British Academy- is an e-learning English language academy with over 7 million students who follow the course using both mobile devices and computers. Its app won the Best Educational App Award 2015 granted by the Reimagine Education organization, a prestigious award considered the “Oscar of education”. Also, Apple featured it among the Best New Apps in dozens of countries. Based on the principles of the natural method, the ABA English teaching methodology transfers to the online environment the intuitive and natural way mother tongues are learned, using short films specifically developed for learning English, thus enhancing students’ experience on any platform.

Headquartered in Barcelona, the Academy is highly multinational and multidisciplinary. Today, 90% of its students are from all around the world as well as company team is made up of people from 20 nationalities –UK, USA, China, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Spain, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, among others- with expertise in various fields: English philology, linguists, English teachers, e-learning, m-learning, IT, developers, social networks, e-commerce and management.

For more information on the app: AppStore o GooglePlay.

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