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Foreign Language Proficiency & Placement

FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY:

Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, but who have not taken a class at Vanderbilt and do not have an appropriate AP, IB, or SAT II test score, must do so via testing through the Tennessee Language Center (TLC).

To demonstrate proficiency for AXLE, students must score 4 or higher on both the spoken and written ALTA tests administered by TLC. (Latin and classical Greek are exceptions; proficiency tests for those two languages are administered through the Department of Classical Studies.) Students who demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language to the level of a second-semester language acquisition course taught at Vanderbilt are not required to take any further language instruction, but must still complete three courses in the International Cultures category in AXLE.

Below are the test scores by which students may demonstrate the Foreign Language proficiency required in AXLE:

  • AP scores of 4 or 5 in Chinese Language and Culture; French Language or French Literature; German Language; Italian Language and Culture; Japanese Language and Culture; Vergil, Latin Lyric Poetry, or Latin Literature; Spanish Language or Spanish Literature.
  • IB scores of 6 or 7 in French (Higher), Japanese (Higher), Latin (Higher), Russian (Higher), or Spanish (Higher).
  • SAT II scores of at least 540 (French), 470 (German), 530 (Modern Hebrew), 540 (Italian), 440 (Japanese with Listening), 530 (Latin), or 520 (Spanish).

FOREIGN LANGUAGE PLACEMENT

In planning your studies in foreign language, you want to be sure to select a course at the right level for your background and interests. In other disciplines, several introductory courses are offered for students with different objectives. This section provides advice to help you select the right course. If you still are uncertain after reading this material, your CASPAR adviser will help. Just follow the instructions in your registration email to contact him or her.

French

You will be placed in French courses on the basis of your score on the College Board SAT Subject Test in French or a departmental test. If you have studied French but have not taken the SAT French Subject Test, you may place yourself into a French course based on your score on the online departmental placement test. You may take the departmental test over the summer or once you arrive on campus. The departmental test is available at on the French Department's website . You will need a valid Vanderbilt email address to use this site. If you have not taken a placement test, register tentatively in the course for which you believe yourself prepared on the basis of your high school work. (Two years of high school French typically prepare students for French 1103.) Placement test results will be used to change placement, if advisable.

  • If you have never studied French in high school, register for French 1101.
  • If your SAT French Subject Test score is 500 or below, or your departmental placement score is below 260, register for French 1101.
  • If your SAT French Subject Test score is between 501 and 530 or your departmental placement score is between 260 and 349, register for French 1103.
  • If your SAT French Subject Test score is between 531 and 590 or your departmental placement score is between 350 and 419, register for French 2203.
  • If your SAT French Subject Test score is above 590 or your departmental placement score is above 420, register for French 2501W.

German

You will be placed in German courses by the department on the basis of your score on the College Board SAT German Subject Test. If you have not taken the SAT German Subject Test, you are urged to do so during either the summer or the fall orientation period. If you have not taken the test, you should enroll in the course for which you believe yourself to be prepared. (Students with two years of high school German typically enroll in German 2201.) Recommended placements are given below.

  • If you have not studied German, register for German 1101.
  • If you scored 460 or below on the SAT German Subject Test, consult with the Department of German, Russian and East European Studies for placement in German 1101 or 1102.
  • If your SAT German Subject Test score is between 470 and 590, register for German 2201.
  • If your SAT German Subject Test score is between 600 and 680, register for German 2202.
  • If your SAT German Subject Test score is 690 or above, register for German 2310W, 2320, or 2341.
Latin

If you had Latin in high school and intend to enroll in a Latin course at Vanderbilt, you should have taken the College Board SAT Subject Test in Latin. Placement is based on both the SAT Subject Test and the number of high school units completed.

  • If you have never studied Latin, or have studied one year of Latin but score below 480 on the SAT Latin Subject Test, register for Latin 1101.
  • Latin 1103 is an intensive review of first-year Latin for stu- dents who have had two years of high school Latin but need a “refresher” course before entering the intermediate level.
  • If you score between 480 and 520 on the SAT Latin Sub- ject Test you should enroll in Latin 1102, regardless of how many years of Latin you completed in high school.
  • Most students who have had three years of Latin, and all students who score between 530 and 620, should register for Latin 2201.
  • If you have had three or four years of high school Latin and score at least 630 on the SAT Latin Subject Test, you should register for Latin 2202. This course is usually offered only in the spring semester.
  • If you have studied four years of Latin and score at least 680 on the SAT Latin Subject Test, you may register for Latin 3110 or above.

If you do not seem to fit into any of the above categories, please consult the Department of Classical Studies for placement at the appropriate level. 

Portuguese

Students who wish to study Portuguese begin with Portuguese 1103, Intensive Elementary Portuguese. This course assumes that the student has some degree of proficiency in Spanish or another Romance language. Portuguese 2203, Intermediate Portuguese, can be taken after 1103. While no formal placement exam is available, all students with prior knowledge of Portuguese will be interviewed and placed by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. 

Russian

If you have never studied Russian, register for Russian 1101. If you have studied Russian, consult with the Department of German, Russian and East European Studies for placement. 

Spanish

You will be placed in Spanish courses on the basis of your score on the College Board SAT Spanish Subject Test or, preferably, the departmental placement test. The departmental test is available on the Spanish Department's website

You will need a valid Vanderbilt email address to use this site. You may take the test over the summer or once you arrive on campus.

  1. If you have never studied Spanish, register for Spanish 1100, Spanish for True Beginners. (Note: This course is only for those with no prior study.)
  2. If you score 390 or below on the SAT Spanish Subject Test or below 275 on the departmental test, register for Spanish 1101.
  3. If you score between 400 and 510 on the SAT Spanish Subject Test or between 275 and 364 on the departmental test, register for Spanish 1103. (Note: Spanish 1102 is only for students continuing from Spanish 1100 or Spanish 1101. You cannot place into Spanish 1102.)
  4. If you score between 520 and 620 on the SAT Spanish Subject Test or between 365 and 440 on the departmental test, register for Spanish 2203.
  5. If you had three or more years of Spanish in high school and a score of 630 or above on the SAT Spanish Subject Test or between 441 and 510 on the departmental test, register for Spanish 3301W.
  6. If you received a 4 or 5 on the Spanish AP test, register for Spanish 3301W.

 

Other Languages

If you wish to continue in other languages you have studied before, consult with the appropriate department for placement. Beginning courses offered in other languages are listed below.

 Arabic 1101

Chinese 1011 or 1101

Creole 1101

Greek 1101

Hebrew 1101

Hindi Urdu 1101

Italian 1101

Japanese 1011 or 1101

K'iché 1101

Tibetan 1101