Language Testing

The CWLC provides undergraduate placement tests and proficiency tests for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate placement tests—free for students—are designed to optimize learning by placing first-year and transfer students into the most appropriate language course based on their level. 

Proficiency tests evaluate what the students can do in a given language in terms of speaking, writing, listening and reading. Some programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels require students to demonstrate proficiency in a second language through these tests.

For your convenience, both placement and proficiency tests can be taken at any time during the year and are self-scheduled. 

students on the stairs

Undergraduate Placement Testing

Students who are continuing to study a language they started learning prior to DU take a placement test to determine their starting course level. French, German, Spanish and Russian use an online adaptive test for placement. Tests in other languages have been developed by DU faculty members to match the learning outcomes of their program.

Be aware that placement tests do not assess the test takers' overall language skills; they are a tool to evaluate where students belong in the language programs offered at DU to have a successful learning experience.

Research in second language acquisition shows that to achieve optimal learning, learners must be challenged just one notch above the skills and knowledge they bring in when starting the course. Correct placement, therefore, predicts students' success in their language course, helps students graduate on time, and saves money. Placement tests are meant to help students be successful in their learning experience, so take advantage of this free tool.

Misplacement has an impact on all students in the class. Students who enroll below the level they place into often become disengaged with the course content since they are going over concepts they have already studied in high school. Disinterested in the course, they stop attending class and doing the homework, which can lead to failing the class or earning a lower grade than they expected.

Additionally, students intentionally enrolling in a course below their language abilities also affect their classmate's learning as they intimidate the students correctly enrolled. Students who opt to enroll below their placement are usually doing so because they lack confidence in their own abilities. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the CWLC Director at Virginie.Cassidy@du.edu. She will provide you with support and advising resources.

Language Requirement

To satisfy the Common Curriculum language requirement, students must take and pass one course of the proficiency level they place into. If students place below 1003, or are starting a new language, they need to complete the first-year sequence (1001, 1002, 1003).

  • Starting a New Language

    Students who are starting a new language may skip the language testing and take levels 1001, 1002, and 1003.

  • Continuing a Language

    Students who are continuing a language will complete the language placement test. If they place within the elementary sequence, they will complete the elementary sequence through 1003. If they place beyond the elementary sequence they will take one four-credit course at their level (2001 or higher) to fulfill the requirement.

  • AP and IB

    Note that IB and AP scores do not fulfill placement requirements nor the Common Curriculum Language Requirement. Students with IB or AP scores need to take the language placement test and follow the "Continuing a Language" directions to determine the courses they need to take to fulfill the requirement.

  • Seal of Biliteracy

    If you earned a Seal of Biliteracy prior to joining DU, please take a placement test for the language you studied. The Seal of Biliteracy will likely allow you to place into an upper-level course and take fewer courses to complete your language requirement. Please take the test to determine your exact placement.

Watch the following video for more information on the FOLA Proficiency + requirement.

 

 

 

 

Step-by-Step Testing Process

  1. Use the Language Requirement Flowchart to determine which language placement test(s) to take.

  2. It is recommended that incoming students take the placement test before July 1 to be ready for registration. Returning students can take the placement test at any time. Students need to provide enough time for the test scores to be transferred to their files at the Registrar's office. Therefore, taking a test during registration week will delay students' access to the registration process. See language-specific details below.

  3. Review your score with the Language Advising Guide.

  4. Register for your language class during the advising period.

  5. If needed, follow up with a language advisor during the first week of class.

You may take the tests for more than one language. 

Undergraduate Placement Testing Instructions

Note that except for Spanish, all 1001 language courses are only offered in the fall quarter. Plan your schedule accordingly. 

Be aware that there will be a delay between placement test completion and the score being uploaded to the Registrar. Please email the CWLC at cwlc@du.edu if you are still encountering difficulties registering a week after test completion. 

  • Arabic
    • Enroll in Arabic 1001 if you have never studied Arabic, if you speak Arabic but do not have experience reading or writing in Arabic, or if you have not had formal instruction in Arabic.  
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the Arabic Placement Assessment, located in Canvas learning management system:
      1. Go to the Arabic Placement Assessment
      2. Enter your DU ID and Password and click "Enroll in Course"
      3. Click "Go to the Course"
      4. Read the instructions and take the placement assessment
    • Note that based on their written results, students may be asked to have a conversation in Arabic with the teacher.
    • Students will be contacted with their scores and placement. Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence.
    • If you have any questions regarding the intermediate Arabic courses or the Middle Eastern Studies minor, please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.
  • Chinese
    • Enroll in Chinese 1001 if you have never taken Mandarin Chinese, or if you speak Mandarin Chinese but do not have experience reading or writing in Mandarin Chinese. 
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the Chinese Placement Assessment, located in Canvas learning management system:
      1. Go to the Chinese Placement Assessment
      2. Enter your DU ID and Password and click "Enroll in Course"
      3. Click "Go to the Course"
      4. Read the instructions and take the placement assessment
    • Students will receive an email regarding their scores and placement. Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence.
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with Chinese language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.
  • English

    International students whose first language is not English can complete the foreign language requirement through the ENGG course sequence (also called English General). Please direct questions about ENGG placement to Ann Makikalli at Ann.Makikalli@du.edu. 

  • French
    • Enroll in French 1001 if you have never studied French as French 1001 is designed for students with little or no previous experience in French. Students with more than 2 years of high school French must take the placement test and enroll in a higher-level course. 
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the French Placement Test:
      1. Go to the Emmersion placement testing website. The French Placement Test is multiple-choice and includes grammar, reading, and vocabulary items. The adaptive test is designed to give you a number of opportunities to answer questions at different levels of skills. Plan on 15-45 minutes for the test. Since this test it adaptive, it is recommended to take the test two or three times to have the most accurate placement.
      2. Create an account. Please note your password! If you get disconnected or forget to record your placement results, you can return to the site to log in and view your score.
      3. At the end of the test, you will receive instructions regarding your placement. You may retake the test up to 5 times within a 7-day period. The highest score is sent to the Registrar's office to be recorded in your file.
    French Placement Scoring Matrix
    Score Course
    0-279 1001
    280-319 1002
    320-359 1003
    360-399 2001
    400-439 2002
    440-479 2003
    480+ 2400
    • Register for the level into which you placed, pending offering and availability. This chart shows which levels are offered during each quarter.

    Course rotation

    Fall Quarter  1001, 2001, 2400
    Winter Quarter  1002, 2002, 2400
    Spring Quarter 1003, 2003
    • Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with French language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.

     

  • German
    • Enroll in German 1001 if you have never studied German.
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the German Placement Test:
      1. Go to the Emmersion placement testing website. The German Placement Test is multiple-choice and includes grammar, reading, and vocabulary items. The adaptive test is designed to give you a number of opportunities to answer questions at different levels of skills. Plan on 15-45 minutes for the test. Since this test it adaptive, it is recommended to take the test two or three times to have the most accurate placement.
      2. Create an account. Please note your password! If you get disconnected or forget to record your placement results, you can return to the site to log in and view your score.
      3. At the end of the test, you will receive instructions regarding your placement. You may retake the test up to 5 times within a 7-day period. The highest score is sent to the Registrar's office to be recorded in your file. 
    German Placement Scoring Matrix
    Score Course
    0-279 1001
    280-319 1002
    320-359 1003
    360-399 2001
    400-439 2002
    440-479 2003
    480+ 2100
    • Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with German language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.

     

  • Hebrew
    • Enroll in Hebrew 1001 if you have never studied Hebrew, or if your Hebrew knowledge is based on preparation for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration.
    • If your Hebrew knowledge is based on having attended a Jewish Day School until grades 6-8, if you have had any other Hebrew experience, e.g. an Ulpan in Israel, Hebrew studies in a public High School, a gap year in Israel, or if your language at home is Hebrew, please take the placement test and schedule an oral interview with Professor Lev at Michal.Lev@du.edu.
    • If you are a native Israeli studying at DU and have completed your Matriculation exams (בגרות) in Hebrew — please contact the CWLC Director (cwlc@du.edu) to discuss the language requirement at DU.
    • If none of the above applies to you, please take the placement test and contact Professor Lev.
    • Please take these steps to access the Hebrew Placement Evaluation, located in the Canvas learning management system:
      1. Go to the Hebrew Placement Evaluation
      2. Enter your DU ID and Password and click "Enroll in Course"
      3. Click "Go to the Course"
      4. Read the instructions and take the placement assessment
      5. Select Quizzes in the left menu
      6. Click on Hebrew Placement Evaluation 2022-2023
    • Students will receive an email from Professor Lev with their scores and further information regarding advising and course offerings. If you have questions over the summer, please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu.There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.
  • Italian
    • Enroll in Italian 1001 if you have never studied Italian.
    • All other students, please take the Italian Placement Assessment.
    • This test includes listening comprehension, grammar, reading comprehension, and a writing section. You must complete the test in one sitting and will have only one hour to complete it. Before you begin, make sure you have functioning headphones or speakers.
    • Students will receive an email regarding their scores and placement. Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test or the first-year language sequence.
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with Italian language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.

     

  • Japanese
    • Enroll in JAPN 1001 if you have never studied Japanese or if you speak Japanese but do not have experience reading or writing Hiragana and Katakana.
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the Japanese Placement Test:
      1. Go to the Japanese Placement Test
      2. Click “Test Application” (under “Taking the TTBJ for Individuals”) 
      3. Select and take “SPOT90 + Grammar90 + 漢字SPOT50”
      4. Complete the test (Test times: 30-60 minutes)
      5. After you complete the test, download the score report PDF file. The score report will also be sent to your email address.
      6. Send the score report PDF file with your name and DU ID number to CWLC at cwlc@du.edu
        There are two scores at the end of your report; please look at the one on the left “日本語力の総合スコア” and register for the class you are placed in. 
      7. Complete the Japanese Placement Survey.
      8. Note your score and the corresponding course level. You will register for the level into which you placed. This chart shows which levels are offered during each quarter. If your level is not offered in the fall quarter, you may be advised to take another course.
    Course rotation
    Fall Quarter  1001, 2001, 2100
    Winter Quarter  1002, 2002, 
    Spring Quarter 1003, 2003
    • Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with Japanese language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.
    Japanese Placement Scoring Matrix
    Score Course
    0-29 JAPN 1001
    30-38 JAPN 1002
    39-47 JAPN 1003
    48-54 JAPN 2001
    55-61 JAPN 2002
    62-68 JAPN 2003
    69- JAPN 2101 or above/see advisor

     

  • Latin
    • Enroll in Latin 1001 if you have never studied Latin.
    • If you have previously studied Latin, print and take the Latin Placement Assessment.
    • Return the completed Latin Placement Assessment to the Center for World Languages and Cultures at cwlc@du.edu
    • Students will receive an email regarding their scores and placement. Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
  • Russian
    • Enroll in Russian 1001 if you have never studied Russian.
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the Russian Placement Test:
      1. Go to the Emmersion placement testing website.
      2. The Russian Placement Test is multiple-choice and includes grammar, reading, and vocabulary items. The adaptive test is designed to give you a number of opportunities to answer questions at different levels of skills. Plan on 15-45 minutes for the test. Since this test it adaptive, it is recommended to take the test two or three times to have the most accurate placement.
      3. Create an account. Please note your password! If you get disconnected or forget to record your placement results, you can return to the site to log in and view your score.
      4. At the end of the test, you will receive instructions regarding advising. You may retake the test up to 5 times within a 7-day period. The highest score is sent to the Registrar's office to be recorded in your file. 
    • Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
    • Please contact the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at LLandC@du.edu with Russian language advising questions over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.
    Russian Placement Scoring Matrix
    Score Course
    0-250 RUSS 1001
    251-380 RUSS 1002
    381-400 RUSS 1003
    401-470 RUSS 2001
    471-550 RUSS 2002
    551-649 RUSS 2110
    650-1000 Above RUSS 2110 - contact advisor
  • Spanish
    • Enroll in Spanish 1001 (offered in Fall and Spring Quarters) if you have never studied Spanish as Spanish 1001 is designed for students with little or no previous experience in Spanish. Students with more than 2 years of high school Spanish must take the placement test and enroll in a higher-level course. 
    • If you speak Spanish at home, grew up speaking Spanish, or think you might be a Heritage Speaker, please see the Spanish for Heritage/Bilingual Speakers section below.
    • All other students, please follow these steps to access the Spanish Placement Test:
      1. Go to the Emmersion placement testing website. The Spanish Placement Test is multiple-choice and includes grammar, reading, and vocabulary items. The adaptative test is designed to give you a number of opportunities to answer questions at different levels of skills. Plan on 15-45 minutes for the test. Since this test it adaptive, it is recommended to take the test two or three times to have the most accurate placement.
      2. Create an account. Please note your password! If you get disconnected or forget to record your placement results, you can return to the site to log in and view your score. 
      3. At the end of the test, you will receive instructions regarding advising. You may retake the test up to 5 times within a 7-day period. The highest score is sent to the Registrar's office to be recorded in your file. 
    • Please contact CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for questions about your placement, the test, or the first-year language sequence. 
    • Please contact the Department of Spanish Language, Literary, and Cultural Studies at SLLCS@du.edu with advising questions for the Spanish program. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week.

     

    Spanish Placement Scoring Matrix
    Score Course
    0-279 SPAN 1001
    280-319 SPAN 1002
    320-339 SPAN 1003
    340-389 SPAN 2001
    390-439 SPAN 2002
    440-479 SPAN 2003
    480-519 SPAN 2050
    520-1000 SPAN 2050 or 2100
  • Spanish for Heritage/Bilingual Speakers
    • If you speak Spanish at home with parents, siblings or extended family members, and have personal ties to a Spanish-speaking community, please complete the Spanish Heritage Language Assessment before enrolling in Spanish for Heritage Speakers (SPAN 2200 and/or SPAN 2250).
    • If you have significant experience studying abroad or have completed part of your education in a Spanish-speaking country, please contact Professor Lina Reznicek-Parrado at Lina.Reznicek-Parrado@du.edu
    • Please follow these steps to access the Spanish Heritage Placement Assessment, located in Canvas learning management system:
      1. Go to the Heritage Spanish Placement Assessment
      2. Enter your DU ID and Password and click "Enroll in Course"
      3. Click "Go to the Course"
      4. Read the instructions and take the placement assessment
    • If you place into the Spanish for Heritage/Bilingual Speaker course, you will register for SPAN 2200 during the Fall Quarter and/or SPAN 2250 during the Winter Quarter. Please plan accordingly.
    • Please contact the Department of Spanish Language, Literary, & Cultural Studies at SLLCS@du.edu with advising questions for the Spanish program over the summer. There also will be an opportunity for advising during Discoveries Week

Transfer Students

Incoming and transfer students enrolling for the first time in the winter, spring or summer quarters do not have a dedicated day for language testing or advising. Please follow the instructions above to complete your placement tests and get the advising you need to register.

International students whose first language is not English can complete the foreign language requirement through the ENGG course sequence (also called English General). Please direct questions about ENGG placement to Ethel Swartley. 

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Proficiency Testing

Proficiency tests rely on real-world contexts and guidelines developed by ACTFL to evaluate students' speaking, writing, listening and reading skills. Some undergraduate and graduate programs at DU request their students to demonstrate proficiency in a second language by taking one of the tests offered by various providers. Tests are delivered online and use a proctoring service. Prices vary according to the type of test requested but they are ranging between $40 and $52.

Proficiency testing is not used for incoming undergraduate students. Undergraduate students who have previous language experience and would like to test out of beginner courses should read and follow the Placement Testing Instructions above. Undergraduate students who do need to take a proficiency test should follow the instructions for ICC and Korbel students in the Graduate Proficiency Testing section below.

Testing for IIC and Korbel Students

Students in International Studies and International and Intercultural Communication programs take the STAMP4S assessment, a computer-based assessment that measures reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The scoring system for this test is based off national standards for foreign language proficiency and is widely recognized.

  • What languages are offered?

    We currently offer Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Simplified and Mandarin Traditional, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Contact the CWLC if you are in need of taking a proficiency test in another language. 

  • How should I prepare for the test?

    Please refer to these user guides for the STAMP4S test. Review the Benchmarking and Rubric Guide to become familiar with the expectations of the test. Review the Technology Guide as well as the Technology Guide for Remote Proctoring to be sure you are aware of all the technical requirements before signing up for the test. The next important step is to review the information about the proctoring process - as it provides guidelines regarding registration to the test. You will purchase your test through our DU storefront for Avant.

    Free drop-in tutoring is available at the Language Center and the Self-Directed Language Study program is available for more focused, individual preparation. It is suggested that students take a sample STAMP4S test on the Avant Assessment website to familiarize themselves with the test format.

  • What do I need to pass?

    You must score at least a 4 (Intermediate-Low) in three of the four test sections, with no lower than a 2 (Novice-Mid) in any of the sections, to fulfill the graduate language requirement.

  • When will I know my results?

    Avant Assessment scores the assessments and results are typically released 1–2 weeks after the test date. Notify the CWLC when you take your exam so we can check your score and notify you via email of the results. 

  • What alternatives are available to fulfill my language requirement?

    The CWLC director and your program director can approve external assessments, certifications, and/or courses to fulfill your requirement. Please contact the CWLC at cwlc@du.edu for more information.

  • How to register?
    1. Review all the guidelines suggested above.
    2. Access the DU Avant Store to enroll for the test of your choice and pay for the test and the proctoring service. All tests are $39.99 (except for Hebrew which costs $74.90).
    3. Upon payment, and after completing your technology check, follow the step-by-step process laid out in the email you will receive from noreply@avantassessment.com. Be sure to check the Junk or Spam folder to view this email.
    4. Schedule a test time. Proctortrak will send an email to confirm your testing time.
    5. Time for your test: log in the testing site and enter the Test code and Password on the login page. You will find the Test Code and Password in the email you received after completing the registration process.  
    6. After taking the test, send an email to cwlc@du.edu with your name, your 87#, the date you took the exam, and your program advisor so we can check your results. We will send your test results to you and your program advisor by email. 

Testing for All Other Graduate Programs

Students in social sciences and humanities-focused programs, art history, anthropology, religious studies, English or geography, take the Reading Proficiency Test (RPT). The Reading Proficiency Test (RPT) is remotely proctored online through Language Testing International. Please review the Technical Requirements to be sure that your computer meets the required specifications and review the Examinee Handbook and the Familiarization Manual for information about the test, scoring and preparation.

  • How to register?
    1. Go to the Language Testing site
    2. Choose one of the languages. Please note that Reading Proficiency Tests are only available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If you need to test in another language, please contact the CWLC to discuss your options.
    3. Choose the Reading test, Reading (ACTFL Reading Test - 50 mins).
    4. Click the button on the bottom of the screen to Schedule Test and complete the Schedule form.
    5. Create an account. Note your account information to reschedule or cancel tests and to view your scores later.
    6. Check out. Your payment of $51 can be made by debit or credit card.
    7. Confirm. 
  • What languages are offered?

    Reading Proficiency Tests are only available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If you need to test in another language, please contact the CWLC to discuss your options.

  • How should I prepare for the test?

    Free drop-in tutoring in available at the Language Center, and the Self-Directed Language Study program is available for more focused, individual preparation. You should also review the Technical Requirements to be sure that your computer meets the required specifications and review the Examinee Handbook and the Familiarization Manual for information about the test, scoring and preparation.

  • What do I need to pass?

    The benchmark scores for passing the Reading Proficiency requirement are set at an intermediate-high level on the ACTFL scale.

  • When will I know my results?

    Results should be available within three business days of completing the assessment. You will receive an email from LTI when your results are available. Please do not call the CWLC for exam results.

    1. Log in to your account to view your results.
    2. Download the PDF of your certificate and email it to cwlc@du.edu. Include your 87#, your graduate program, and the name of your graduate advisor.

    The CWLC will verify your score and notify your program advisor.

  • What alternatives are available to fulfill my language requirement?

    The CWLC Director and your Program Director can approve external assessments, certifications, and/or courses to fulfill your requirement. Please contact us for more information.