World Languages

Spanish Placement Exam FAQ

What is included in the test?

This is a comprehensive exam designed to measure the student’s ability to:

  • Manage diverse vocabulary.
  • Describe a variety of subjects.
  • Narrate in different time frames.
  • Use different verb forms.
  • Apply grammar concepts.
  • Express ideas and feelings in the target language.

What are the evaluation criteria for the test?

Spanish Placement at Viterbo University is based in the guidelines put forward by the ACTFL. The students are ranked following the requirements for a novice, intermediate, or advanced level of writing proficiency. Students should demonstrate all or most of the skills for each level of proficiency outlined in PDF iconSpanish Placement Criteria.pdf

When is a good time to take the test?

  • The best time to take the placement exam is before registering at Viterbo. This will allow enough time for evaluation of the exam and for the student to register for the course where he/she was placed.
  • The exam could be taken at any time before graduating provided that the student will have enough time and room in the schedule to take the course where he/she was placed.
  • New students should contact Lisa Konkel at 608-796-3467.
  • Continuing students should contact Jane Eddy at 608-796-3194.

Where can I take the test?

Students may take the placement exam in person at the Academic Resource Center at Viterbo or online using their student ID number as the password.

What happens with the test after I take it?

The test is not graded. A member of the Spanish Department faculty evaluates the exam by highlighting what the student is able to do. The information is then compare to the skills expected from students at different levels (SPAN 102, 250, 251, 305) and the student is placed accordingly.

How do I find out my course placement?

A copy of the results will go to the registrar, another to the advisor, another to the student, and one will remain at the Spanish Department. The student may contact any of these sources to find out the placement if he/she has not been informed of the exam results.

What can I do to get into the course where I was placed?

Student should inform the advisor of his/her interest in taking the course and make sure to register if the course is available.

When do I get the retroactive credits?

The retroactive credits will appear on the student’s transcript after successful completion (a grade of C or better) of the course in which the student was placed.

How much does the exam cost?

The placement exam is free of charge for new and current Viterbo students.

Who should take the placement exam?

  • Students that have taken Spanish in high school.
  • Students that have been exposed to Spanish as a second language.
  • Students that have lived in a Spanish speaking country for an extended period of time.

Who should NOT take the placement exam?

  • Students that have taken Spanish in another college and are planning to transfer those credits to Viterbo.
  • Students with no previous Spanish language study or experience.

What kind of test is the placement exam?

  • There are ten open ended questions that the student will answer in essay form.
  • There are no multiple choice questions.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Pinzl
Assistant Professor, World Languages and Interpreting
608-796-3492
mmpinzl@viterbo.edu