Spanish Placement, Credit, and Waiver Exams

The Spanish Placement Exam

The Spanish language Program uses FOUR levels of screening in order to place students in the correct language acquisition course. They are (1) a Placement test, (2) the student’s prior formal study of the language (high school and college), (3) interview with a placement advisor, if needed, and (4) the instructor.

1. The Placement Test

Who does not need to take the Spanish Placement Test?

Students who:

  • Never studied Spanish before, or did it only during grade school (elementary, middle school)
  • Have no Spanish background whatsoever, and are not native or heritage speakers
  • Received a score of 5 on the AP Spanish Language or Literature Exam

AP Language score of 5 = places into SPAN 2006

AP Literature score of 5 = places into SPAN 3010W or above

  • Received a score of 5 or higher in the IB Spanish exam (see below)

IB Language A

IB exam

Score         

GW credit

Language A (Standard Level = SL)

6 or 7

Places into SPAN 2006

Language A (Higher level = HL)

6 or 7

Places in 3010W or above

Language A (Higher level = HL)

5

Places into SPAN 2006

 

IB Language B

IB exam

Score

GW credit

Language B  (Higher level = HL)

7

Places in 3010W or above

Language B  (Higher level = HL)

6

Places into SPAN 2006

 

Who has to take the Spanish Placement Test?

A student needs to take the Placement Test if she or he:

  • Has taken Spanish courses during high school, or at a university or college other than GWU
  • Has never formally studied Spanish, but it is a language that is spoken at home (heritage)
  • Has lived in a Spanish-speaking country, or were in that country for an extended period of time
  • Is a native speaker of Spanish
  • Took the AP exam, but the score is 4 or below
  • Feels that AP or IB scores (see above) do not accurately reflect his/her Spanish level

Scores on the GW Placement Evaluation

SCORE

GWU Placement

0 - 25

Spanish 1001, 1012

26 - 45

Spanish 1002

46 - 65

Spanish 1003, 1034

66 - 80

Spanish 1004

81 - 95

Spanish 2005, 2056

96 - 110

Spanish 2006

111 - 125

Spanish 3010, 3020, 3040

126 - 140

Spanish 3100 and above

 

2. PRIOR FORMAL STUDY IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE (NOT GWU)

As a general rule, and regardless of the Placement test score

  • Students with 1 year of high school Spanish can take SPAN 1001 or SPAN 1012.
  • Students with 2 years of high school Spanish must take SPAN 1002 or higher depending on the placement test score. However, a student who has not taken Spanish for over a year can choose to enroll in SPAN 1001 or 1012. A student may also be allowed to enroll in SPAN 1001 or 1012 if the prior instruction in the language was not solid enough for SPAN 1002 (an interview with a placement advisor during the first week of class is required).
  • Students with 3 years of high school Spanish must take SPAN 1003, 1034, or higher (depending on their Placement test score). However, a student who has not taken Spanish for over a year can choose to enroll in SPAN 1002. A student may also be allowed to enroll in SPAN 1002 if the prior instruction in the language was not solid enough for SPAN 1003 (an interview with a placement advisor during the first week of class is required).  No SPAN 1001, 1012 credit will be given.
  • Students with 4 years of high school Spanish must take Spanish 1004 or higher (depending on their Placement test score). However, a student who has not taken Spanish for over a year can choose to enroll in SPAN 1003. The student may also be allowed to enroll in SPAN 1003 or SPAN 1034 if the prior instruction in the language was not solid enough for SPAN 1004 (an interview with a placement advisor during the first week of class is required).  No SPAN 1001, 1002, or 1012 credit will be given.
  • Students with 4 years of high school Spanish and with an AP score of 4 must take Spanish 2005, SPAN 2056, or higher (depending on their Placement test score). However, a student who has not taken Spanish for over a year can choose to enroll in SPAN 1004. The student may also be allowed to enroll in SPAN 1004 if the prior instruction in the language was not solid enough for SPAN 1004 (an interview with a placement advisor during the first week of class is required).  No SPAN 1001, 1002, 1003, or 1034 credit will be given.

3.  INTERVIEW WITH A PLACEMENT ADVISOR

Students need to see a Placement Advisor within the first week of classes whenever they have questions or concerns about their placement, or if they want to place in a lower course (see 2 above).  They also will need to see a Placement Advisor if the instructor asks them to do so (after reviewing the student's placement).

4.  THE INSTRUCTOR

Within the first 6 days of class, instructors need to identify any student who, despite 1, 2, and 3 above, does not have a possibility to succeed in the class. This means that the student lacks a minimal language foundation to be able to progress in the language, and that the problem cannot be solved with the help of a tutor. Students without proper placement will be removed from their classes. Please also note that the PLACEMENT exam is for placement only. It does not give you credit for courses or waive the Elliott School proficiency requirement.


College Credit Exams

There are a variety of exams available for high school students to gain college credit before they enroll. Currently, GW accepts the Advanced Placement (AP) exam and the International Baccalaureate (IB) exam.

Advanced Placement Exam:

The College Board offers two Advanced Placement exams, one in Spanish Language and another in Spanish Literature. Credit for AP exams is subject to change. Please see the GW Admissions website for the latest information.

International Baccalaureate Exam:

The International Baccalaureate Organization offers Spanish exams at two levels (Language A and Language B). Credit for IB exams is subject to change. Please see the GW Admissions website for the latest information.

At this time, GW does not accept credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or SAT II exams.


Waiver Exams

A waiver exam is offered to students in the Elliott School of International Affairs for students who wish to test out of their 3rd-year language proficiency requirement.

You must register in advance to take the waiver exam by e-mailing the Elliott School.

The waiver exam is used specifically for Elliott School undergraduates trying to waive their proficiency requirements. Please also note that this exam merely waives the requirement. Students will not receive credit hours for passing the waiver exam.

Spanish Placement Exam

The Spanish Placement exam is available online. Click here to go to your placement exam. You may only take the exam once! If you have any questions, please contact the department to be referred to the appropriate advisor.