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Foreign Language Requirements and Placement Information
For students beginning a new language, they should register for FL* 101. For students who want to continue studying a language they have previously studied they should take a placement exam in order to determine the correct course in which to enroll.
Previous Study of French, German, Latin or Spanish.
The department uses the Computer Adaptive Placement Exam (CAPE) series from Brigham Young University to place students who have previously studied Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. The exams test the grammatical knowledge, as well as the reading comprehension of the student. The exam adapts to each individual by providing less difficult questions if the preceding question was missed, or more difficult questions if the previous question was answered correctly. This process continues until the student consistently answers questions correctly at one level, and misses three consecutive questions at the higher level. We have had very good success with this program. Most students are placed at the correct level, commensurate with their proficiency. These exams normally take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete. Since they are an adaptive test, the time needed to take the test and the number of questions answered varies for each individual. The Latin placement test is also computerized but is not adaptive in nature.
COMPUTERIZED PLACEMENT TESTS -- EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE BEGINNING 3/18/2020:
Until further notice, due to the situation associated with COVID-19, computerized placement tests (Chinese, French, German, Latin, Spanish) are being offered exclusively online, and for course placement purposes only. As long as you don't plan on doing well enough on the placement exam to place out of your degree's foreign language requirement, go ahead and take the placement test now. Simply take the test and do your best; don't use any resources (other than your own brain). If you feel that you have placed too low or too high, contact the Associate Department Head. Otherwise, enroll in the course in which you place.
Note: Typically, a placement test is taken one time only and is used to determine course placement. If you believe that you will place beyond your degree's foreign language requirement (e.g. beyond FL 201) and you do not intend to take a language course, contact Dr. Despain , the Associate Department Head for Foreign Languages and Literatures, to determine what arrangements can be made prior to your taking the test. If you do end up placing beyond your language requirement and you did not make prior arrangements with Dr. Despain, contact him so that you can work out a verification of the results with him. Take the test by visiting this url: https://go.ncsu.edu/placement_test.
When and Where: No appointment is needed for the computer placement exams. During the fall and spring semesters, on any day that classes are in session, these exams are administered in the CHASS Foreign Language Computing Lab (Language 214) according to the posted hours at that website. During off days/times, but only when the university is open, including the summer, go to Tompkins 117, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Non-NC State Students: For non-NC State students who wish to take one of the computer placement exams: contact the Associate Department Head for Foreign Languages and Liateratures by email with your inquiry and the number of the identification card you
will would bring to the lab (a high-school id, employment id, or driver’s license); you will be registered to take the exam and be sent an email with your registration code to also bring to the lab. that you will use when you take the computerized test online.
Scores: Placement exam scores are uploaded into the student’s MyPack portal by Registration and Records a day or two after taking the test.
Previous Study of Arabic, Ancient Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, or Urdu: Students interested in continuing their study of one of these additional languages taught by the department should contact the appropriate language coordinator who can explain the format and contents of their non-computerized placement exam, which will be conducted virtually (rather than face-to-face) until further notice. Contact information for the language coordinators can be found on the undergraduate menu of the FLL web site
Retaking a placement exam: Students may take the placement exam in a given foreign language only once. They may not take the test in a given language if they have already taken a course in that language at NC State. (Once the course sequence is started the student continues to follow the sequence.) It is a violation of NC State's Code of Student Conduct for a student to try to take the exam a second time, to try to take the exam after they have taken an FL course in that language, or misrepresent their placement information in any way, If a student feels that s/he has placed too low or too high, please direct this concern to the Associate Department Head of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Native and heritage speakers of languages other than English do not take the NC State Placement Test and do not receive credit for FLx 101-202 in their native language. They do, however, fulfill the foreign language proficiency requirement, as well as the foreign language requirement for CHASS and PCOM and can receive certification [no credit awarded] by contacting the Associate Department Head during the fall and spring semesters. The student will then need to consult with his/her advisor to choose a course that replaces the three credits required on the Degree Audit for FLx 201.
Advanced Placement & Retroactive Credit:
- A score of AP 3 [IB 5] places students into FL 201. A score of AP 4 [IB 6] places students into FL 202. A score of AP 5 [IB 7] places students at the 300-level. Students with the AP 5 [IB 7] should discuss the appropriate course to take with the appropriate language section coordinator. Advanced Placement credit is posted as follows: AP 3 = FL*102, AP 4 = FL* 201, AP 5 = FL* 201 and FL* 202.
Students who place into FL 201 with the IB exam or the NC State placement test will be awarded three hours of retroactive credit for FL 102 upon completion of FL 201 with a grade of C- or better on the first attempt. Students who place into FL 202 with the IB exam or the NC State placement test will be awarded three hours of retroactive credit for FL 201 upon completion of FL 202 with a grade of C- or better on the first attempt. Students who place into a 300-level course with the IB exam or the NC State placement test will receive three hours of retroactive credit for FL 202 upon completion of the 300-level course on the first attempt with a C- or better. Registration & Records awards the retroactive credit in the semester following the one during which the course was taken.
- For Placement Waivers – Students need to see the Associate Department Head if they place out of a course – he will process the necessary paperwork and forward it to Registration & Records. This transaction does not occur automatically and there is no credit awarded for a placement waiver.
- SAT Subject Test cut-off scores: 200-310 --> FL 101; 320-420 --> FL 110; 430-500 --> FL 102 ; 510-600 --> FL 201; 610-700 --> FL 202; 710 or above --> FL 300 level.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) and Poole College of Management (PCOM)
University General Education Requirement: Upon admission to NC State, all students who have earned a grade of C (77) or better in each of two years of high-school study of the same language are notified during New Student Orientation and will receive a notation on their Degree Audits stating that they have met the university foreign language proficiency requirement – as “FL* 100 High School *** PF.” This notation does not mean that students may enroll directly into FL 201, which is the minimum college requirement for CHASS and PCOM since high-school proficiency is not equivalent to FL 102 completed at NC State or at another accredited college or university. In order to be sure that students have the prerequisite knowledge for FL 201 or above, students in these colleges are required to take the FL placement test during New Student Orientation if they have not taken the SAT II FL, the AP, or IB test in foreign languages. Note: B.S. in CHASS follows FL 102 Proficiency.
Students who receive a notation of proficient in FL at the high school level, and then place into the FL 101 level on the NC State placement exam, can continue in the same language as the one studied in high school, but will receive no credit towards graduation for FL 101. Credit hours toward graduation will be given for FL101 if: 1) the language was not taken by the student in high school, 2) the student has met the university foreign language proficiency requirement with another language, and 3) the language is not the student's native language. The department offers 15 languages from which to choose.
Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) | Design (DSN) | Education (EDU) | Engineering (ENG) | Natural Resources (CNR) | Sciences (COS) | Textiles (TEX)
Foreign Language Requirement for Students in CALS, CNR, COS, DSN, EDU, ENG, TEX:
University General Education Requirement: All students are required to demonstrate proficiency at the FL 102 / Elementary II level.
Freshmen may satisfy this requirement before entering NC State in one of the following ways:
- Score of 510 or above on the College Board Foreign Language Achievement Test (SAT Subject Test)
- Advanced placement score of 3 or above (College Entrance Examination Board AP Test)
- A grade of C (77) or better in each of two years of high-school study of the same language.
- Students are notified during New Student Orientation and will receive a notation on their Degree Audits stating that they have met the university foreign language proficiency requirement – the administrative “equivalent” of FL 102 / FL Elementary II - as “FL* 100 High School *** PF.”
Proficiency at the FL 102 level after entering NC State may be demonstrated as follows:
- Completion of a FL 102 course with a passing letter grade
- Transfer credit equivalent to FL 102 from an accredited institution or university-approved study abroad program
- Placement into FL 201 or higher on the placement test of one of the languages offered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Freshmen are notified during New Student Orientation and will receive a notation on their ADA whether or not they have met the university foreign language proficiency requirement. The student who has not met the university proficiency requirement must take the placement exam. If the student places into FL 101 s/he will not receive credit towards graduation for FL 101.
If a student has received the notation of proficient in a foreign language at the high school level and has thus fulfilled the university requirement, but wishes to continue studying the language, s/he still needs to take the placement test to ensure proper placement.
Students who receive a notation of proficient in FL at the high school level, and then place into the FL 101 level on the NC State placement exam, can continue in the same language as the one studied in high school, but will receive no credit towards graduation for FL 101.
Credit hours toward graduation will be given for FL 101 if: 1) the language was not taken by the student in high school, 2) the student has met the university foreign language proficiency requirement with another language, and 3) the language is not the student's native language. The department offers fifteen languages from which to choose.
The student who wishes to continue a foreign language begun in high school should take the placement exam.
Students who receive a notation as proficient in FL at the high-school level and who then place at the FL 101 or 102 level on the NC State placement exam can do one of the following:
- enroll in FL 101 (or 102) of the same language that they took in high school (in preparation for FL 201), thereby receiving no credit toward graduation for FL 101.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to take the foreign language placement test?
If you have taken the SAT - II Subject Test and know your score, no. If you have taken the College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Foreign Language Test and know your score, no. For students in the colleges of CALS, CNR, COS, DSN, EDU, COE, and TEX– if you have fulfilled the university 102 proficiency requirement (see placement information above) and do not wish to take foreign language courses at NC State, no. If you have fulfilled the requirement, but do wish to continue to study a foreign language, yes. For students in CHASS and Management who have a 201 requirement, even if they have fulfilled the university proficiency requirement, yes.
2. All the sections of the language course I want are full.
During the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester, spaces sometimes open up in classes.
Some courses will have wait lists.
Note: First and second year Spanish courses are often filled to capacity. But if you have fulfilled the university FL 102 proficiency requirement based on your high-school FL courses, you may begin another language for which you will receive free elective credit. The other language classes (Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German,
Hindi-Urdu, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian) normally have space available.
3. I placed slightly below the next level on the placement test. I've studied the language for at least two years in high-school and think I could do well in the next level. May I register for the course?
Contact the Associate Department Head who will discuss with you your foreign language experience and interest in continuing to study a foreign language. He will advise you accordingly.
4. I believe I have fulfilled my foreign language proficiency based on my high-school courses, but this is not showing up on my degree audit. What should I do?
For students during New Student Orientation: it will take until the fall semester for your high-school transcript to be fully processed by Records and Registration staff who verify your high-school foreign language grades. Your degree report should show the correct information by the fall advising session.
For all other students: check with Records and Registration - the records staff can double check your transcript. The Department does not handle high-school transcripts and the determination of FL 102 proficiency.
After classes begin . . .
5. I placed into a course that is either too difficult or too easy for me. What should I do?
Contact the Associate Department Head. The Department’s goal is to have students in the course that is at the right level for them. There are exceptions and students should see the Associate Head during the first week of the semester; he who will advise them accordingly.