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Department of Modern Languages

Foreign Language Placement and Proficiency Testing

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The placement test does not award credit or provide an exemption from language study. The proficiency exam can award credit.

There are multiple ways to demonstrate foreign language proficiency depending on your previous familiarity with foreign languages and cultures. To determine your path to demonstrating proficiency, review the description below that best reflects your experience with foreign language or languages.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does COLA have a foreign language requirement?

    A solid foundation in world languages and cultures is a necessary component of a liberal arts education and a must in today’s globalized economy. The study of foreign languages improves your cognitive and communication skills, helps you better understand your own language and culture, and enables you to navigate the complexities of today’s multicultural world.

    All COLA B.A. students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at a level that is equivalent to two years of college-level language instruction.

  • What is foreign language proficiency?

    Foreign language proficiency is the ability to understand, speak, read, and write in a foreign language, understand and appreciate cultures of the communities in which the language is spoken, and function in culturally appropriate ways in a foreign language. 

  • What course correlates to my French, German or Spanish placement score?
    French WEBCAPE Placement Test Scale
    Score Course
    0-259 FR 1010
    260-336 FR 1020
    337-402 FR 2010
    403-500 FR 2020
    500-600 3000-Level French
    600 & Above Meet with Advisor
    German WEBCAPE Placement Test Scale
    Score Course
    0-291 GER 1010
    292-383 GER 1020
    384-492 GER 2010
    493-550 GER 2020
    550-600 3000-Level German
    600 & Above Meet with Advisor
    Spanish WEBCAPE Placement Test Scale
    Score Course
    0-269 SPN 1010
    270-345 SPN 1020
    346-427 SPN 2010
    428-510 SPN 2020
    510-600 3000-Level Spanish
    600 & Above Meet with Advisor

    PLEASE NOTE: no matter what your major is, it is Department Policy that you may receive Prior learning Assessment credits back only at either the 1000-2000 level OR the 3000 level, not both.

    If you have any questions or concerns about your placement, please call or drop by the department of Modern Languages and speak to the Administrative Support Coordinator.

  • Should I take a foreign language placement test?

    Take the Placement WEBCAPE Test in French, German or Spanish. There is a $10 fee.

    • If you have studied French, German or Spanish, use this online WEBCAPE test to see what level course (beginning, intermediate, advanced) you should take.
    • The placement test does not give you credit.
    • The placement test does not waive the language requirement.
  • What is a foreign language proficiency exam?

    If you are fluent in a language, this exam with a language professor is for you.

    A "B" grade or better gives you the option to have course equivalencies added to your transcript.

How to Demonstrate Foreign Language Proficiency

Native speaker of English without previous exposure to foreign languages

Native speakers of English who have never studied or spoken a foreign language demonstrate proficiency in a modern language by taking a sequence of four progressive courses: 1010, 1020, 2010 and 2020 – in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish.

Please note: students who begin their language study at a level above 1010 may NOT go back and take lower-level courses for credit without permission from the Chair.

Begin the Placement Test. Note: There is a $10 fee.

Native speakers of English with previous exposure to a foreign language

You have studied a foreign language either formally (e.g. in high school or at another college or university), informally (e.g. by living or traveling extensively in a foreign country) or through some combination of formal and informal study (e.g. by taking language classes while living abroad).

As soon as you enroll at Wright State, you should either:

  1. Take the WEBCAPE placement test in French, German or Spanish to determine your level of placement. WEBCAPE usually takes around 25-30 minutes. After taking the exam, see your recommended course, above. Or,
  2. Contact an advisor of Arabic or Chinese for placement.

Once you begin language study at a certain level, you may not skip courses in the sequence without permission from the Chair.

Begin the Placement Test. Note: There is a $10 fee.

Native or heritage speaker of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish OR if I scored above 600 on the WEBCAPE test for French, German or Spanish

You grew up speaking one or more of those languages or you currently use them at home and consider yourself to be fluent.

If you learned a foreign language from relatives or parents, but have had little formal study of grammar or writing, or if you scored 600 or above on the WEBCAPE Placement test, you are eligible to take the oral and/or written Proficiency Exam to receive up to 6 hours of graded credits. Each exam requires a $150 registration fee.

Please note that you MAY NOT receive Prior Learning Assessment from the 1000-2000 level if you receive proficiency credit at the 3000-level; only one of these two options is available to each student.

Students who claim their native language as English but would like to take a proficiency exam in Arabic or Chinese may do so by arrangement with the department. Students can take one of these exams to exempt themselves from the COLA foreign language requirement, but cannot receive Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit unless they take an upper-level course and receive a "C" or better in that course.
The language proficiency exam is a three-step process. 

  1. Visit the Department of Modern Languages (ML) in 225 Millett and ask for the Administrative Support Coordinator to aid you in completing the PLA Registration form. Submit the form to the Bursar’s Office in the Student Union with payment of $150 (cash, check, or cashier’s check made out to Wright State University; for credit card/debit card payments, ask the ML Administrative Support Coordinator for this form) into the dropbox (envelopes are provided at the dropbox.) When your form is returned to the ML Department office you will receive an email with the contact information of the faculty member who will administer your test. You will then need to contact the faculty member and schedule the date your test will be given.
  2. Go to the ML Department the day that you have scheduled your exam with the professor.
  3. The Administrative Support Coordinator will then send the form to the office of the Registrar for processing. Your credits will be applied to your transcript during the grading period at the end of the semester.NOTE: You must be registered for classes at Wright State during the semester in which you take the proficiency exam.

Speaker of a language not offered at Wright State

You are fluent in a less commonly taught language, such as Hindi, Tagalog, Turkish, Swahili, etc.

Students who claim as their native language a language not offered at Wright State can be tested by a qualified professor at another local college or university who speaks that language and officially verify to the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages that they are proficient. In this case, the student can be declared exempt from the College of Liberal Arts language requirement, but cannot receive Prior Learning Assessment credits. Please see the Administrative  Support Coordinator for assistance.

Students who claim a language other than English as their native language may complete their COLA foreign language requirement by passing ENG 1100 and 2100 with a grade of C or better.

Please contact the English Department for further information.

Took an AP (Advanced Placement) exam

Wright State University follows the Ohio Board of Regents Advanced Placement (AP) policy governing the application of transfer credit for a score of 3 on AP examinations. Course equivalencies for this score have been identified by individual academic departments in accordance with the guidelines in the statewide policy.

Individual academic departments have determined the equivalent courses for which credit will be granted for scores of 4 and 5. Learn more about AP Credit and Credit by Examination.

Taking American Sign Language (ASL) or Latin or Greek

You may fulfill the language requirement by taking four semesters of ASL or Latin or Greek. For class availability, consult the schedule of classes or contact the professor. 

Students with a documented disability preventing them from successfully learning to comprehend, speak, read or write a foreign language or American Sign Language

Please contact the Office of Disability Services.

Prior Learning Assessment Policy and Procedure

The Department of Modern Languages believes that students having learned a second language in high school, through living abroad, or by any other means have the right to earn prior learning credit in that language.

I. Beginning and Intermediate Language Skills

Those students who place into language classes between the 1010and 2020 levels, and attain a grade of C or better may earn “Pass” credits for sequenced courses below that level.

In order to qualify for these credits, students must fill out a “Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Registration Form” (available in Dept. of Modern Languages, 225 Millett). By the 9th week of the semester, 1020, 2010 or 2020 students should submit their PLA form to one of the Department of Modern Languages’ Administrative Assistants to obtain the Department Chair’s signature. Once approval has been obtained, students will take the PLA Registration form to the Bursar, along with a check for $150. As long as the student passes the class with a C or better, this payment will ensure the receipt of PLA credits, which will be added to the student’s transcript and will count toward graduation. See the following chart for details:

Student takes: Student passes with a C or better Student submits PLA form to ML Dept. Student takes form & $150 to Bursar Student earns ____# credits on transcript Courses Earned
1010 N/A N/A N/A N/A
1020 3 credits 1010
2010* 6 credits 1010, 1020
2020** 9 credits 1010, 1020, 2010
Any 3000/4000-level course 12 credits 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020

*For PLA purposes, Intermediate SPN 2110 or 2210 are equivalent to SPN 2010

**For PLA purposes, Intermediate SPN 2120 or 2220 are equivalent to SPN 2020

Some students may have already earned credit for AP or CLEP. This credit will not be duplicated.

If studentshave any questions about which level is appropriate for them, they shouldspeak with theirinstructor for guidance.

Transfer Credit

Transfer students wishing to have PLA credits transcripted will do so in their first semester at WSU. If this is missed, the student may start the process later.

Students who began studies at WSU prior to Fall 2015

Students who qualified for credit under the pre-PLA policy may apply for credit under the current PLA policy.

II. Native and Near-native Language Skills

Proficiency Testing:

Native and near-native speakers of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish* may take the Language Proficiency Test in two areas (Conversation and/or Composition) and receive Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) “Pass” credits for 3110 and/or 3210 without physically sitting in the classes. Students may not receive PLA credit for upper-level (3110, 3210) and lower level courses (1010, 1020, 2010, 2020); however, if a student has received AP or CLEP credit for lower-level courses, they may choose to take the exam to receive PLA for 3110 and/or 3210. If the 3210 course carries IW designation, that designation will be maintained. See the following chart for details:

Student Type PLA Form Submission Oral Proficiency Exam Rating Payment Credits Course Earned
Student has native or near-native oral proficiency Student submits PLA form to ML Dept. Student takes Oral Proficiency Exam with designated evaluator Student is rated as Proficient Student takes form & $150 to Bursar Student earns 3 “Pass”credits on transcript 3110
Student has native or near-native writtenproficiency Student submitsPLA form to ML Dept. Student takes Written Proficiency Exam with designated evaluator Student is rated as Proficient Student takes form & $150 to Bursar Student earns 3 “Pass”credits on transcript 3210

*Native and near-native speakers of Italian or Russianmay take the 2020 final exam to earn PLA “Pass” credit for 1010, 1020, 2010 and 2020. See the following chart for details:

Student Type PLA Form Submission Oral Proficiency Exam Rating Payment Credits Courses Earned
Student has native or near-native proficiency in Italian or Russian Student submits PLA form to ML Dept. Student takes 2020 Final Exam with designated evaluator Student is rated as Proficient Student takes form & $150 to Bursar Student earns 12 “Pass”credits on transcript 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020



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