Second Language Placement Test

All students who have previously studied a language should take a placement test, regardless of their intention to complete a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts must complete the Second Language Requirement by studying two semesters of a language other than English at the college level or demonstrating equivalent proficiency. For this reason, a placement test is essential for students pursuing at B.A. degree. (Students can also meet the requirement through an AP language exam, SAT language test, or transferable college coursework. See the Second Language Requirement details under the Suggestions for Selecting Courses for new students.) Students who fulfill the language requirement through placement testing or other means may wish to continue studying that language; if so, you should request a course at the appropriate level on your New Student Form or in a conversation with your entrance advisor.

For students pursuing a Bachelor of Science, a placement test is also important: some already know they wish to continue studying a language; others might decide later to continue studying a language; or a student might change majors to one that is a B.A. degree and thus need to fulfill the Second Language Requirement. (Students pursuing a B.S. degree who have a second major from a B.A. degree field are not subject to the Second Language Requirement.)

If you have previously studied a language but want to begin studying a new language, you should still take the placement test — since some students later change their minds and revert to the language they previously studied.

French or Spanish / Chinese, German, or Italian

For French or Spanish, students must complete a two-step placement process, which includes both an online grammar test and a separate written component that can be submitted online. Courses at a range of levels are available in both French and Spanish each semester.

For Chinese, German, or Italian, an online placement test is available. There is no written component for these languages. No courses are offered in these languages, but students can complete a placement test for the purpose of demonstrating their level of proficiency and potentially fulfilling the B.A. Second Language Requirement, if they demonstrate a high enough level of proficiency. Courses in these languages may be available at the University of Vermont, with applicable tuition costs, but students should avoid taking a class off campus during their first semester.

STEP 1: ONLINE TEST

  1. Access the required, online placement test at this link.
    Or use this web address: http://bit.ly/32tAgkM
  2. Create an account and password as required.
  3. After login, choose the appropriate language from among the available options: Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.
  4. Answer all questions about your experience with the test language or other languages.
  5. Read instructions, complete sample item, and begin test.
    The test should be completed without any outside assistance, books, or other materials.
  6. The test takes approximately 20 minutes, depending on your level. Results will be displayed once the test is complete.
    If your test session is interrupted and you are logged out before completing the test, you may login again and resume the test.
  7. When finished, you will be given your score, which will also be visible to the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures. Students should download or print a copy for their records.
    * Students take the placement test only once. If taken multiple times, only the first score will be counted for placement purposes.

For French or Spanish, preliminary placement will be indicated based on your score, but a written component (step 2) is also required to complete the process, unless you score below 240. Students who score below this threshold are placed at the first-semester level (101).

For Chinese, German, or Italian, there is no additional written component. Step 2 does not apply to these languages.

STEP 2: WRITTEN TEST

Students who score above 240 on the online test for French or Spanish must also complete the written portion of the placement test to confirm and finalize their placement. This consists of responding in writing to a broad, generic question that asks you to describe yourself and compare yourself to another person in order to demonstrate your range of vocabulary (attributes, preferences, family, activities, emotions, etc.) and which verb forms you can use. Students are allowed up to one hour for the written test.

This written component is administered through Canvas, our learning management system. There is a Language Placement “course” in Canvas corresponding to the academic year in which a student first enrolls at Saint Michael’s.

  • If you entered SMC in academic year 2020-2021 or 2019-2020, to complete the written test please see the instructions for the appropriate language in the Canvas course corresponding to the year in which you first matriculated:
  • If you entered SMC in the middle of an academic year (spring semester), please contact Peter Vantine (pvantine@smcvt.edu) to be added to the appropriate placement course in Canvas, where you can then see the instructions to complete the written test for the relevant language.
  • If you entered SMC prior to fall 2019, or if you have a problem accessing the relevant placement course in Canvas, use the written component instructions attached here and then send your completed writing sample to the Chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, Peter Vantine (pvantine@smcvt.edu).

Students whose online and written placement results qualify them for FR/SP 203 or above have met the foreign language proficiency requirement for B.A. degrees. However, even students who have met the requirement are encouraged to consider continuing their study of the language at the level of their placement. Similarly, although B.S. students have no foreign language requirement, they are encouraged to consider continuing studying a language at the appropriate level.

Latin Placement

The placement process for Latin consists of an online test administered through Canvas, our learning management system. There is a Language Placement “course” in Canvas corresponding to the academic year in which a student first enrolls at Saint Michael’s. To access the Latin placement test, use the appropriate Canvas course link in the section immediately above (Step 2: Written Test for French and Spanish) based on your year of matriculation.

Other Languages

For those with experience in a language other than English that is not specified above, please contact the Chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages & Literatures, Peter Vantine (pvantine@smcvt.edu).

If adequate records exist of formal coursework at a sufficient level, a proficiency test may not be necessary. In other cases, such as a language learned at home, it may or may not be possible to determine if the student’s level of proficiency in the language fulfills the B.A. Second Language Requirement. When feasible, a proficiency assessment will be arranged if an acceptable assessment tool or external evaluator can be found.

Courses in a some other languages may be available at the University of Vermont, with applicable tuition costs, but students should avoid taking a class off campus during their first semester.