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Frequently Asked Questions: Language Requirement and Placement Exam

What is the language requirement at Whitworth?

Students must either demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by taking our online language placement test and placing at the 201 level or higher, or take a two-semester sequence (8 credits) of elementary language (101-102). Students with some background, but not enough to test out of the requirement may be able to test into 111, a one-semester accelerated language course offered in Spanish and French. Spanish 111 is offered every semester, but French 111 is offered only in the spring semester.

Who must take the placement test?

Any student who wants to take French, Spanish, or German, and who has any experience or previous courses in the language must take the placement test. Students who have never had any exposure to the language do not need to take the placement test. Students who test into 111 or higher will not be allowed to register for 101. It is not possible to test into 102 – only into 101 or 111. If you feel you are inappropriately placed, register for the recommended course and then talk to the professor on the first day of class.

Who can get into SN 111 or FR 111?

Only students who have tested into 111 are allowed to take this class.

What about testing out of the language requirement?

If a student wishes to complete the language requirement by testing at the 201 level or higher in French, German, Spanish or Russian, s/he must complete the test in a proctored setting on campus, even if s/he has already taken it online at a previous time. This can be done at any time during a student's time at Whitworth. However, it is highly recommended that students take the placement test during their first year as retention rates tend to decrease as time passes. The Whitworth Department of World Languages & Cultures proctors group tests at the beginning of each academic year, usually on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Check your orientation brochure for time and location. To have a test proctored at another time, you must make an appointment with a computer lab staff member in the library.

Can I receive credit for language classes that I didn't need to take because I placed out of them?

Yes! If you placed out of the language requirement and into third year courses (301-302), you may take the College Level Examination Program or CLEP test and receive up to 12 college credits. You must do so within six months of declaring a language major or minor. A maximum of eight of these credits may be applied to the language major, and any additional credits will be general non-major lower level college credits.

How will I know if I have tested out of the language requirement?

At the completion of your test, you will immediately see on the final screen your final score and a recommendation for a class to take. If you are at the 201 level or higher or if you are told to see an advisor, you have the skills and background required to demonstrate proficiency. You are welcome to take the test at any time from any computer to see where you stand, but in order for your score to qualify you to test out of taking any language classes at Whitworth, the test must be completed in a proctored setting. You may complete it during the session that takes place during Orientation Weekend at the beginning of the fall semester (Tuesday following Labor Day weekend), or make an individual appointment with lab staff during the regular semester.

How long are my test results valid?

Your test results are valid for the duration of your Whitworth studies. However, we strongly recommend that you take care of your language requirement during your first or second year.

How often can I take the placement test?

Proctored tests may be taken a maximum of once every seven days. It is a good idea to study the language using a textbook if you are trying to test out of the general education world language requirement. The questions change each time you take the test, so taking it repeatedly is not a good way to prepare. However, you may take the test on your own (unproctored) as often as you like.

Can I test out of languages other than French, Spanish, German or Russian?

For some languages, we have faculty who can proctor a test. Native speakers of a language other than English may have their language requirement waived if they can demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, comprehension, speaking, and culture at the 201 level or above. Check with the chair of the world languages & cultures department to see if it is possible for you to test out of the requirement in your language.

What happens in the event of a high score?

If a student gets the message "Please see an advisor" at the completion of the test, s/he should enroll in 301, which provides students with an advanced grammar and vocabulary review that prepares them for upper division courses.

What happens to test results?

When the test is taken in a proctored setting on the Whitworth campus, results for students wishing to test out of the requirement are sent to the registrar's office and to the Chair of World Languages & Cultures. If students are taking the exam solely for placement purposes, they can take it anywhere, anytime, from any computer, and the results are not sent to these offices. However, through an online database, faculty and staff have access to all Whitworth test scores taken at any time.

Where do students take the test?

Students who are testing solely for placement purposes can go to the Whitworth World Languages & Cultures home page from any computer. To test out of a language, students must go to a Whitworth computer lab and make an appointment to take a proctored test, or take the test at the group time during the orientation weekend prior to the start of fall semester.

What does the test consist of, and how will I know my score?

The test is a series of multiple-choice questions that assess your level of vocabulary, reading comprehension, and grammatical accuracy. After you have completed the test, you will receive your score immediately. You will also be told in which course to register. Please save your score by emailing it to yourself or by printing the page.