Foreign Language Placement Testing at Ohio State
Attention Advisors: Access language placement charts under Projects/MultiCAT
- What are the objectives of placement tests?
The purpose of these tests is to determine which language course best fits the needs of students entering OSU who have previously studied foreign languages.
- Who takes the test?
All students who have had 2 or more years of the same foreign language in high school must take the language placement test in the language used for unconditional admission to OSU, whether or not they plan to continue language study.
- Who is responsible for administering the tests?
The Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is responsible for administering the web-based placement tests in French, German, Spanish and Italian. If you need to test in another language taught at OSU, please contact the department that oversees that language.
- What does a placement test include?
The web-based MultiCAT tests and the Italian test includes vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension in a multiple-choice format. Statistics of past testers show the average test-taking time is approximately 30 minutes. For information on the content of other language placement exams, please contact the department directly. Requests for exceptions may be made through the Office for Disability Services.
- How do you know what course you've placed into?
For French, German, and Spanish, your placement into a course is based on both your test score and number of years of high school study. For Italian, placement is determined by your test score alone. If you have questions regarding your placement test score, contact the department.
- Will I receive EM credit as a result of my Placement test?
Students receive EM credit based on their placement test scores. For example, if a student places into 1102 in any language, he or she will receive credit for 1101. A student who places out of 1103 will have completed his or her language requirement. No elementary language credit is awarded to native speakers, i.e., those whose secondary education was in the foreign language.
- When do students take a placement test?
Students usually take the placement test during Orientation. If for some reason, students are unable to take the test during Orientation, students should contact the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures for information about dates and times at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 292-4361. It is strongly advised that you begin your language courses immediately after you have taken the placement test.
- How do students find out the test results?
When students take the French, German, Italian and/or Spanish placement test, results are available immediately. For other languages, contact the department that coordinates this language.
- What happens if students are not satisfied with their placement test results?
Students are asked to contact the appropriate language director to discuss their test results.
- What if students have already taken a nationally recognized placement test in a language?
Students who have successfully passed an Advanced Placement, CLEP, or IB examination are awarded credit and placement proportionate to the score obtained. These students do not normally need to take the OSU placement test, but when going through orientation they should verify that their scores have been received.
- What happens to transfer students with college credit in a foreign language?
These students normally register for the next OSU equivalent course in the sequence. They are not required to take the Placement Test. Such students should follow the Office of Admissions procedures for transfer credit and contact the Departmental Transfer Credit Coordinator. (Transfer students without language credit, however, must take the Placement Test.)
- When should students take foreign language?
Most American students take foreign language in 9th and 10th grade, then quit just as they begin to develop usable language skills. They then have a two-year break in language study before entering college. Ideally, students should continue their language study, taking a 3rd or 4th year in 11th and 12th grade. For those who cannot or do not do so, we strongly recommend a review of basic grammar and vocabulary before taking the placement test.
- Which foreign language credits count toward degree requirements?
Answers to this question will depend on the degree-granting unit (e.g., ASC, ENG, BUS, etc.). Students should check with their college advising unit, once they have decided on a major.
- Are there circumstances for which the Placement Test requirement may be waived?
In the case of students with a learning disability, special arrangements and/or petitions may be initiated through the Office for Disability Services. If students have been out of high school for over five years or are 22 years of age or older, the placement test is not required unless students wish to have their language assessed before enrolling in a language course.
- How about the Regional Campuses?
The same guidelines generally hold true for all OSU campuses.
Foreign Language Validation
The majority of OSU students have a foreign language requirement of three semesters or 12 credit hours. Native or near native speakers of languages other than English have two possible options for fulfilling the foreign language requirement.
- If you are a native speaker and were educated in your home country, contact your academic adviser who will validate your foreign language requirement based on your official records. Your adviser will help you determine which courses to take in lieu of the foreign language requirement.
- If you are a native (or near native) speaker of a language other than English and were educated in the US, you may request a foreign language validation test. If you reach the appropriate level on this test, your foreign language requirement will be validated. This means that you will be allowed to substitute 12 hours of approved courses to fulfill the foreign language requirement. You should then meet with your academic adviser to find out which courses can be used in lieu of the foreign language requirement.
- For languages not offered at OSU, you can request a foreign language validation test. Contact the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at email@example.com or call 292-4361. CLLC staff will try to identify an appropriate test administrator.
Foreign Language EM / Proficiency Testing
For specific information about possible EM/proficiency testing in a language, contact the appropriate department to find out their policies and procedures in this area.