Initial Placement and Retroactive Credit Policies
Initial Placement Policy
Initial placement refers to the specific level at which students begin coursework in a language in the Department. Proper initial placement recognizes students’ prior learning, helps them save time and money, and safeguards the integrity of the Department’s lower-division courses.
Taking into consideration various types and degrees of previous language exposure, the Department has adopted and enforces the following guidelines with respect to initial placement:
- Students with no prior experience in a language must enroll in the 101-level course.
- Students who have studied a language in school (but without receiving dual credit or taking a standardized test) must take the placement exam adopted by the Department prior to enrollment in their initial language course.
- Native and heritage speakers must also take the placement exam adopted by the Department prior to enrollment in their initial language course.
- Students whose placement exam scores are very high and who wish to begin above the 202 level may pursue the Department’s Accelerated Pathway option, which requires an assessment of oral proficiency before placement.
- Students with dual credit or transfer credit in a language must enroll in the next course in the sequence, may not take the placement exam, and are not eligible to credit for prior learning.
- Students who have earned a Seal of Biliteracy and submit score reports for the AAPPL or STAMP 4S exams may enroll in the next class in the sequence within one year of the score report date. Otherwise, they must take the placement exam adopted by the Department to determine initial placement. Score reports for these tests should be submitted directly to the Department.
- Students who receive credit for prior learning on the basis of AP, CLEP or IB exams may enroll in the next class in the sequence. Score reports for these tests should be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions.
- If no placement exam has been adopted for the language in question, students must consult with a faculty member who will assess their proficiency and make an initial placement determination.
- Students must initially enroll in the course indicated by their prior language experience, placement exam score, standardized test score, or faculty proficiency assessment, as set forth above. However, an initial placement may be adjusted downward or upward upon request by the student and with faculty approval. This request must be made within two weeks of the first class period.
- The Department head has the authority to approve student requests for exceptions to the above placement guidelines.
Initial Levels Credit for Prior Learning Policy
Students who bypass levels in a language sequence as a result of initial placements determined in accordance with the Department’s Initial Placement Policy may receive credit for prior learning for lower courses in the sequence. The following conditions apply:
- Students must pass the course into which they are initially placed with a B or better.
- Students who intend to major or minor in a language program may receive a maximum of 15 hours of retroactive credit. For all other students the limit is 6 hours.
Credit for prior learning does not appear on students’ records until the Department submits a Prior Learning Assessment Form to the Office of the Registrar on their behalf. Students may request this form via email (email@example.com) or by visiting the Department office in SICL 223 after grades for the class the initially placed into have posted.
(Updated March 2023)