Initial Placement and Retroactive Credit Policies

Initial Placement and Retroactive Credit Policies

Initial Placement

Initial placement refers to the specific level at which students begin coursework in a language in the department. Proper initial placement safeguards the integrity of the department’s lower-division courses, recognizes students’ prior learning experiences, and helps them save time and money.

Taking into consideration various levels 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 with transfer credit in a language (including dual credit) must enroll in the next course in the sequence, may not take the placement exam, and are not eligible to receive retroactive credit.
  • Students who have studied a language in high school (without receiving dual credit), heritage speakers (students exposed to a language other than English in their homes), and other non-native speakers with prior exposure to a language must take the department's placement exam prior to enrollment in their initial language course.
  • 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 whose placement exam scores are very high and who wish to begin above the 202 level may request that a faculty member assess their proficiency and determine their possible eligibility for higher initial placement.
  • Native speakers (students who were raised and educated in countries where the language in question is the primary language) must consult with departmental faculty for a determination of appropriate initial placement.
  • Students must initially enroll in the course indicated by their prior language experience, placement 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.

Retroactive Credit

Students who bypass levels in a language sequence as a result of initial placements determined through placement exam scores or faculty proficiency assessments may request retroactive credit for lower courses in the sequence. The following conditions apply:

  • Applications for retroactive credit must be made in person at the departmental office in SICL 223.
  • Students must pass the course into which they are initially placed with a B or better in order to receive the agreed upon retroactive credit.
  • Students who intend to major or minor in a language program may receive a maximum of 12 hours of retroactive credit. For all other students the limit is 6 hours.

(Updated October, 2012)