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Foreign language placement and guidelines
Mandatory placement tests
(For students who continue langauge study in French, German, or Spanish)
Students pursue study in foreign languages for a number of reasons, often in the context of specific graduation requirements. For example, all students receiving degrees (B.A. or B.S.) in the College of Arts and Sciences and all other university students who receive the B.A. must complete a classical or modern foreign language through the 2000 level (2200 or the equivalent course).
For those students who have initiated foreign language study prior to entering Florida State University (specifically in high school where no college credit was awarded), selection of the appropriate language course level is extremely important. It is for that reason that a mandatory (no cost) placement test will now be required for all students who plan to continue study in either French, German or Spanish. Students who are studying a new language which they did not study in high school, and for which they have no other experience, are not required to take such a test but would enroll in the 1120 level of the language of interest.
The purpose of a placement test is to ensure that students continue their language studies without repeating the same material and with as few gaps in their learning as possible. Students do not receive credit for a placement test; however, there are methods of receiving credit through other tests that are described below.
** THERE IS NO FEE FOR THE PLACEMENT TEST **
All students who entered the university after January 1, 2003 and who are taking their first FSU course in French, German, or Spanish in the Spring Semester 2004 or later are required to take a placement test (unless the student has no prior experience with the language).
Students who have already started their language sequence at FSU do not need to take a placement test to continue.
Students who arrive at FSU with college credit for language study also will not be required to take the test since their placement level will be based on transfer work completed.
Because the placement tests are available only for French, German, and Spanish, students of other languages who have had previous instruction in the language must consult an advisor in the Department of Modern Languages for proper course placement. Other modern languages taught at FSU include Arabic, Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.
Who does not fall under the mandatory placement exam requirement?
Any student who is continuing the study of the same language and who does not already have college credit in that language is encouraged to take the test, However, the following groups do not fall under the requirement:
- Students who entered the university before Spring semester 2003.
- Students who have already started studying a language at FSU.
- Students who are beginning a completely new language.
I took Spanish in high school, but now I want to take Japanese. Do I need to take a placement test?
No. Because you have never taken Japanese before, there is no reason to take a placement test. You would begin your study of Japanese with JPN 1120. The same principle applies to anyone beginning the study of a new language at FSU.
I took two years of French in high school, but that was a long time ago. Shouldn't I just start over?
No, you should not waste time repeating material that you already know. Students sometimes remember more than they think they do. You need to take the test.
I want to take Italian, but there is no test.
What should I do? If you have never had Italian before, you begin with ITA 1120. If you have previously studied Italian, you need to talk to an advisor in Italian.
Where do I take the Placement Test?
At the Assessment Services Test Center in University Center Bldg. C, Rm 1200. For info. call 644-3017.
When do I take the Placement Test?
The center will test students on a walk-in basis throughout the academic year. Just show up at the testing center any weekday between 9am and 4pm. It is important that students take the test the semester before enrolling in a language course at FSU so they will know which course in which to enroll.
How long does the Placement Test take?
The test takes about one hour and is multiple-choice in format. There is no speaking or listening on the test.
When will I get my score?
In most cases your test will be scanned as you wait. However, if the testing center is busy, you may have to return the next day. The longest time that you will have to wait is 24 hours. After you get your score, you can register for an appropriate class section. Simply consult the scoring guidelines available online and posted in the Test Center and in the Department of Modern Languages.
What do I do with the score?
Keep the receipt that you receive from testing to bring to your first class meeting. Students who do not have a receipt will have to take the placement test before they are officially enrolled in French, German or Spanish. If you are starting a new language, the instructor will check your high school record.
Do I get credit for previous courses if I place out of the first semester?
No. No course credit is given for the placement test. However, you will save time (and money) by skipping a semester or two of language study. Many students will only need to take one semester of language at FSU to satisfy specific graduation requirements.
Is there any way to get college credit for my previous study of a language?
Yes. If you took a course in high school that grants “college”credit, FSU will recognize that credit. FSU also grants credit for national, standardized tests (CLEP, AP, IB) and dual enrollment in Florida. If you have credit through AP or IB, that credit will be assigned by the registrar and appear on your FSU transcript. Transfer credit from other universities is also accepted. Any prior college credit constitutes evidence of placement – you can only receive credit for courses beyond those already completed.
What is the CLEP exam?
The CLEP exam (College Level Examination Program) is a national, standardized test. It includes listening as well as reading and grammar skills. It is available in French, German and Spanish. Students may receive up to 12 credits through this exam. However, the CLEP test may not be taken if the student has previously enrolled in any college-level course in the language. You may register for the CLEP at the Assessment Services Test Center, Rm 1200 University Center Bldg. C. The fee for the exam is currently $85. If you decide to take the CLEP, you must take it before you register for language courses at FSU. For further information about the CLEP exam you can call 644-3017.
I took the placement test but I do not really think the score reflected my abilities. Can I take it again?
Students are not allowed to repeat the test for 60 days. If you think the score does not reflect your knowledge, your best option is to talk to an advisor in Modern Languages for personal placement.