Foreign Language Placement Testing
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.
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 is taken only once and should be completed within approximately thirty minutes except when students present an official VCU Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity accommodations letter. You should take the Placement Test no earlier than the semester prior to the one during which they want to take a language course. Click here to view the testing schedule.
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 available twice a semester (approximately mid-semester and also during Final Exam week). 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.
There is an administrative fee of $100 to take this three-hour assessment which must be paid prior to registering for an exam date. Print this Verification of Payment and submit with your payment to the VCU Student Accounting Office. You will need to upload this Verification of Payment and the receipt in order to schedule a test date with our office! Please use the Avant STAMP 4S Assessment request to schedule. Once you have submitted your assessment request, the SWS Advising Office will contact you to verify your registration and assessment date.
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 the completion of an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview to meet VCU graduation requirements. The Oral Proficiency Interview must be proctored here on campus in the School of World Studies Media Center located on the fourth floor of Hibbs Hall. The OPI is not taken for credit. These examinations are conducted by phone (OPI) or internet (OPIc), depending on the language. For complete information regarding languages assessed through OPI or OPIc as well as fees, please visit the Language Testing International site.
There is an additional VCU School of World Studies proctoring fee of $26 for the OPI or OPIc. This proctoring fee must be paid prior to registering for an exam date. Print this Verification of Payment and submit with your payment to the VCU Student Accounting Office.
You will need to upload this Verification of Payment and the receipt in order to schedule a test date with the School of World Studies Media Center.
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.