Foreign Language Placement Testing

Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ: Audio Recording Problems

I can't record my voice. What should I do?
Microphone problems are the most common issue we deal with in the CLIC, bar none. The problem is complicated because there are so many potential reasons for the problem: headset/hardware issues, computer sound settings, browser compatibility, browser security settings, flash settings, volume settings, permissions setting, speaking too quietly, speaking too loudly. Many different causes can result in the same problem.

Before you give up, try these troubleshooting recommendations:

STEP 1: Quit the browser before trying the next steps.

1) First, write down your username--you will need it to log back in to your test. DO NOT USE A DIFFERENT USERNAME TO START OVER.
2) Quit your internet browser. On a Mac, don’t just click the red button the the browser window, choose Quit from the application menu.

STEP 2: Computer sound settings

1) Did you quit your internet browser? On a Mac, don’t just click the red button the the browser window, but choose Quit from the application menu.
2) Go into your computer’s sound settings to be sure the output is set to the desired microphone
3) Then open the browser again and navigate back to the placement test.

STEP 3: Adobe Flash settings

1) When you’re in the speaking section, you will probably see a Flash settings window similar to this. Click “Allow".
2) You should then see two buttons: Record and Settings. Click on the “Settings” button to bring up the Flash settings again.
3) Click on the Microphone tab (the one with the microphone/lollipop), and choose the correct microphone (the one you noted before in step 2.2) from the pull down menu.
4) Click on the privacy tab (the one with the eye), and be sure “Allow” is selected, and click “Remember."
5) See if that fixed the problem by trying to record an answer to one of the test questions.

STEP 4: Switch web browser.

If you still have trouble, repeat from Step 1 with a different browser. One student on Windows 8 solved the recording problem by switching from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Another student on a Mac solved the recording problem by switching from Firefox to Safari.

STEP 5: Send an email to Erica at erica.andree@pacificu.edu. She will ask you to run through steps 1-4 , so try that first.

FAQ: Technical Questions

Where and when do I take the Placement Test?
Placement is a web-based test that may be taken anywhere, anytime.  All you need is a properly configured computer with a headset or microphone.  The test must be completed by the deadline listed for your Advising and Registration Event.

How long does the test take?

Plan to spend 35-50 minutes taking the test.  However, this is an untimed test.  Take all the time you need.

Can I use a dictionary?

Do not use outside resources during the test - no pen, paper, software applications, websites, dictionaries or help from friends.  Otherwise the results will not accurately represent your abilities and you may find yourself placed in a class level that does not suit you.

What if I don’t have access to a computer or microphone to take the test?
Check your local library or school—they may offer a suitable computer and testing environment. If you don’t have the proper equipment and environment to take the test, contact the Advising Center

Can I use my iPad, iPod, or iPhone to take the Placement test?
No.  The Placement test relies on Adobe Flash to record audio.  None of Apple’s mobile devices support Flash.

What kind of computer do I need?

SUPPORTED TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENTS

Operating Systems

Browsers

Flash

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

One of the following:

Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 9

Adobe Flash Player Version 10.3

Mac OSX 10.5

Mac OSX 10.6

Mac OSX 10.7

One of the following:

Safari 4

Safari 5

Adobe Flash Player Version 10.3

Using a supported browser is needed to ensure compatibility with Flash Player. These configuration have been tested and are known to work. Updated operating systems, browsers and Flash may also work, but be sure to try the technology check and practice test to be sure.

Avant Technology Guide

FAQ: Who Must Take the Placement Test

Do I have to take the test? 
All incoming first year students are required to take the Placement test to continue study of a language they have already begun to learn.  You do not need to take the Placement test if 1) you have never studied a second language, or 2) if you intend to begin study of a language you have never learned before (for example, if you studied Spanish in High School, but you intend to learn Japanese at Pacific.)

I don’t plan to register for a language in the fall.  Do I have to take the test?
If you intend to continue study of a language you have already begun to learn, you need to take the Placement test, even if you don't enroll in a language course in the fall.  If more than 12 months have passed between the test and enrolling for a language course, students must consult with the World Languages and Literature department for a placement assessment.

Can I take the test later?
Placement test codes are only valid during specificed testing periods, and results take several days to receive. If you don't take the test during the specified testing period, you may not be able to receive a placement in time for registration, and your registration may be delayed.

If my first language is not English, do I have to take the test?

If you intend to study another world language (other than your native language or English) which you have already begun to learn, you must take the test.  If you intend to fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement as a native speaker of a language other than English, you do not need to take the test.  However, you must consult the Advising Center to be exempt from the foreign language core requirement.

How does Placement Testing help me?

Streamlined Course Registration: Many students underestimate their second language skills and need to change levels during the first few weeks of classes.  This is unnecessarily disruptive to both your course schedule and to your learning.  An accurate placement assessment allows you to register for the best level of language instruction—the first time.

Fast Track to a Minor or Major in a World Language.  Advanced second language and cultural proficiency, as evidenced by a major or minor, are highly valued skills in the job market, as well as an excellent compliment to other major areas of study.  Students who place into higher level language courses may be exempt from up to 16 lower-level credits of the major or minor requirements in a World Language!  This saves you time and money.

 

Fast Track to Meeting the Foreign Language Core Requirement.  Students with placements beyond 102 may qualify to take a Proficiency Test through the World Languages and Literature Department to fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement.

FAQ: Placement Test Results

When do I find out my score?
Placement scores will be available to the Advising Center for use during registration. Contact the Advising Center for more information.

How will my score be used?
The Advising Center and Registrar will use the Placement score to determine the appropriate langauge course for your level of proficiency. 

Can I redo the test?
The Placement test cannot be retaken within 9-12 months of a previous placement test.  If you believe your score does not accurately represent your language proficiency, you may speak with the Chair of the World Languages and Literature Department to discuss your placement results.  Final decisions for language placement are made by the Department Chair and World Language faculty.

 

What if I place higher than 102?
The Placement Test score recommends the appropriate level of language course for your level of proficiency.  If you score beyond the 102 level, you qualify to enroll in a higher level course.  Completing a language course beyond 102 fulfills your Foreign Language Core Requirement, and sets you on a fast track to a major or minor.  You may also qualify tointerview with language faculty and take a proficiency test to waive the Core Requirement.

Can I get credit if I test higher? 
The Placement test does not offer credit for testing beyond the 102 level.  A higher placement does allow you to waive lower division credits toward a major or minor in a World Language.

FAQ: Foreign Language Core Requirement

What is the Foreign Language Core Requirement?

From the Academic Catalog 2013-2014 (p 43):

Proficiency in a language other than English must be demonstrated by the successful completion of a 102-level course or its equivalent. Students begin in the appropriate level course as determined by a placement examination. A student may satisfy this requirement by passing a proficiency test administered by the World Languages and Literatures Department.

Students will:

  • develop linguistic skills in all four areas of the language of concentration: listening, speaking, reading, and writing sufficient to achieve the Intermediate-Low level according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines for western languages, and the Novice- High level for non-western languages
  • familiarize themselves with the fundamental grammatical concepts needed to enhance the previously mentioned four linguistic skills
  • acquire cultural, historical and geographical knowledge associated with the language
  • be able to interact with native speakers of the language
  • enhance grammatical knowledge of English by comparing it with the target language.

Can I be exempt from the Foreign Language Core Requirement?
To fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement students must generally demonstrate a level of proficiency equivalent completion of a 102-level course.  Many students fulfill the requirement by completing a 102-level language course. Students with advanced language skills may fulfill the requirement by passing a Proficiency Test administered by the World Languages and Literatures Department. Students whose native language is not English may be exempted after consulting with the Advising Center.

 

Does American Sign Language fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement?
Pacific does not currently offer courses in American Sign Language, but ASL is a qualifying second language.  To fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement with a language not taught at Pacific University, you must transfer 102-level equivalent credits or consult with Chair of World Languages and Literatures Department for other options.

What if I have transfer credits equivalent to 102-level?
Consult with the Advising Center to determine whether transfer credits fulfill the Foreign Language Core requirement.  Generally, language coursework completed elsewhere satisfy requirements for the core, majors, and minors equivalent to courses completed at Pacific.  If transfer credits meet the core requirement, you do not need to take the placement test.

What if I learned a language not offered at Pacific?
To fulfill the Foreign Language Core Requirement with a language not taught at Pacific University, you must transfer 102-Level equivalent credits or consult with Chair of World Languages and Literatures Department for other options.