Foreign Language Placement Testing

The sunrise on the horizon of planet earth as seen from space.

Learning a new language is incredibly rewarding because it opens up opportunities for cross cultural dialogue and understanding. The School of World Studies offers courses in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish.

Testing Schedule


Foreign Language Assessment

The study of additional language(s) increases mental acuity and global cultural competence. Students who want to start their language study, continue their study or want an assessment of their non-English language abilities can choose from the following four options.

1. Learning a New Language

Students who wish to begin studying a new language should register for a 101 section of the language of their choice. No Foreign Language Placement Test is necessary.

2. Foreign Language Placement Test to Continue Language Study

The sole purpose of the Foreign Language Placement Test is to determine the appropriate first VCU course for those who will study a foreign language to which they have had previous exposure. It can be taken only once and should be completed within approximately 30 minutes (maximum 45) except when students present an official VCU Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity accommodations letter. Students should take the Placement Test no earlier than the semester prior to the one during which they want to take a language course. Please submit the Placement Test Request Form [Google form] at least one week in advance of the date you wish to take the assessment. Your request will be processed by the School of World Studies, and sent an individual email containing all pertinent information and instructions.

Please note: The Placement Test is not recognized as a comprehensive evaluation of the five language skills (oral and aural comprehension, written and verbal articulation and cultural competence). It is therefore not considered a viable assessment for students who wish to place out of foreign language requirements for any degree program.

3. Comprehensive Foreign Language Skill Assessment for Languages Taught at VCU

Students who do not intend to further their knowledge through coursework of the language taught at VCU (Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish) must be evaluated for language proficiency through the Avant STAMP 4S Assessment Test.

The Avant STAMP 4S Assessment Test is a comprehensive evaluation of all five language skills (oral and aural comprehension, written and verbal articulation and cultural competence) and is processed through the School of World Studies several times a year. The Avant STAMP 4S is not taken for credit; it is solely used for assessment purposes. View the AVANT Test Score Rubric for more information on how the assessment scores coincide with VCU skill levels in each language.

Important: The following is necessary to complete the online Avant STAMP 4s assessment from the comfort of your own home:

  1. desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac)
  2. webcam
  3. headset and microphone
  4. Google Chrome browser

There is an administrative fee of $100 to take this three-hour assessment which must be paid prior to registering for an exam date. The payment instructions are as follows:

  1. Log into VCU eServices; click on the "Student" tab; select "Student Account; then select "Make a Payment." You will click “Make a Payment” three times to take you to a screen where you can enter the required payment amount.
  2. To pay the Avant fee, you will enter $100. You must manually enter this amount in the box on the right-hand of your screen. If paying by electronic check, there is no additional charge. If paying by credit card, there is an additional nonrefundable service fee of 2.85%.
  3. Once payment is submitted, you must immediately email Student Accounting at stuacctg@vcu.edu to let them know that the payment for the test was made. Since taking the Avant test, you must enter "Avant Fee Paid" in the subject line of the email.
  4. Student Accounting will provide you a receipt of the payment and notify the School of World Studies that your payment was made.

You will need to upload this receipt in order to schedule a test date with our office! Please use the Avant STAMP 4S Assessment Registration Form [Google form] to schedule. Once you have submitted your assessment request, the SWS Advising Office will contact you to verify registration and then provide you a personalized link to complete the assessment online.

4. Foreign Language Skill Assessment for Languages NOT Taught at VCU

Students who do not intend to further their knowledge through coursework at VCU must be evaluated for language proficiency through an ACTFL oral proficiency interview to meet graduation requirements. The oral proficiency interview is available online. The OPI is not taken for credit. These examinations are conducted by phone (OPI) or internet (OPIc), depending on the language being assessed, and can be taken at your convenience.

Please use the Language Testing International (LTI) website to sign up for and schedule the appropriate test for your language (OPI or OPIc). Once you are on the LTI homepage, click on the orange “Search for your institution or school program” at the right top of the screen, and enter Virginia Commonwealth University. This is the only way to ensure that scores can be verified and processed by our department.

There is a School of World Studies administrative processing fee of $26 for the OPI or OPIc which must be paid in order for the results to be verified, processed and added to your official transcript. Payment instructions are as follows:

  1. Log into VCU eServices; click on the "Student" tab; select "Student Account; then select "Make a Payment." You will click “Make a Payment” three times to take you to a screen where you can enter the required payment amount.
  2. To pay the OPI or OPIc processing fee, you will enter $26. You must manually enter this amount in the box on the right-hand of your screen. If paying by electronic check, there is no additional charge. If paying by credit card, there is an additional nonrefundable service fee of $3.
  3. Once payment is submitted, you must immediately email Student Accounting at stuacctg@vcu.edu to let them know that the payment for the test was made. Since you are taking the OPI or OPIc test, you must enter "OPI Fee Paid" in the subject line of the email.
  4. Student Accounting will provide you a receipt of the payment.
  5. You will need to upload this receipt to the OPI/OPIc Processing Request Form [Google form] to initiate processing.

Testing Schedule

Don’t think you need a foreign language class?

Please note that many VCU majors require language through the intermediate (202) or advanced (300) level. Check the VCU Bulletin for foreign language requirements for your respective major(s).

Students who have completed three or more years of study of a foreign language at the high school level have fulfilled the Humanities and Sciences foreign language requirement through the 102 level. For more information, please email the College of Humanities & Sciences Office of Student Services.