Foreign Language Placement and Foreign Language Proficiency Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to take a language placement exam?

All undergraduate students pursuing a B.A. degree at Bellarmine College of Arts of Sciences are required to take a foreign language placement test to complete their new student registration. Please click here for more information about the foreign language requirement.

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I already have or am waiting for AP, IB, or CLEP scores?

YES!  All entering students with language background experience must take the WebCAPE online placement exam. However, your AP, IB, or CLEP scores may be sufficient to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I only had very little of the language?

YES! Our foreign language faculty will use the results of this test to determine your appropriate placement should you choose to study foreign language at Bellarmine. The WebCAPE is also used to determine whether you are eligible to take the STAMP (Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency) test to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language and satisfy the requirement for BA degree candidates in Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences.

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I’ve had some French, German, or Spanish, but I don’t feel confident and I want to take the Basic (101) course?

YES! No student with any French, German, or Spanish will be allowed to take basic language course without the placement exam. The placement exam will help us determine your level more objectively, besides you may finish earlier if you take an upper level.

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I’ve had some French (or German, or Spanish) but I forgot every thing?

YES! See above.

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I never had the language before?

NO. If you did not study a foreign language prior to enrolling at Bellarmine, you must start at the 101 level and complete up to six hours of credit in a foreign language. Consult a language expert at the department of Global Language to assist you in choosing the appropriate language to enhance your degree. 

Do I still need to take a placement exam if I am a heritage or native speaker of a language other than English?

MAYBE. Heritage and native speakers should contact the Department of Global Languages and Cultures at 502.272.8237. You may be eligible for a waiver of the foreign language proficiency requirement, or you may need to take a test to determine your placement should you wish to pursue further language coursework at Bellarmine. 100 and 200 level courses are not open to students who have native or near-native fluency in target languages.

What if I want to take a placement test in a language not offered at Bellarmine? 

Please contact the Department of Global Languages and Cultures at 502.272.8237.

What if my major has a Foreign Language requirement?

Some BA degree programs in Bellarmine College require foreign language coursework beyond that of the College proficiency requirement; students must meet the requirements of their respective major(s) in order to complete graduation requirements. For all BA degrees in Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences, however, the minimum proficiency must be met, see listings for departmental exceptions.

How do I interpret my WebCAPE score?

Placement exam results are available immediately after the exam is completed. If you place into the 101-102 level and intend to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences, you will need to take three to six hours of foreign language to meet the proficiency requirement. Your advisor will also receive your score and help you with registering for the appropriate course. As soon as you get the score do a print screen and/or take a picture of it.

If you score above the 102 level and wish to take the STAMP test to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, you may take the test on campus on your Orientation day. There will be two STAMP testing time slots offered at each SOAR session: one at 1:30 p.m., and one at 3:30 p.m. Our advising and admissions staff will assist you with scheduling your test on that day.   

How do I interpret my STAMP score?

Your reading and listening scores will be available immediately after you take the test. Your writing and speaking scores will take longer to process. The Department of Global Languages and Cultures will contact you with your final scores. Your final scores will determine whether you 1) have established proficiency at the 201 level, or 2) will need to be placed in a 101 or 102 level course. 

I believe my score does not reflect my level. Can I register for a different course than indicated in the score interpretation?

NO. It is possible that after careful consideration and discussion with your instructor during the Drop/Add period that your placement level would change. Any necessary adjustment to a student’s placement will be made promptly during the first few days of class.

Why do I have to take the WebCAPE AND the STAMP to demonstrate proficiency? 

While the WebCAPE test is adequate for determining course placement, to establish proficiency in a foreign language and satisfy the graduation requirement for BA degrees in Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences, we must be able to measure your reading, listening, writing and speaking skills in a foreign language. This is accomplished with the STAMP test, which tests all three skills.

Please note: All WebCape scores expire a semester after taken and become invalid, requiring you to take this test again. It is advisable you take the course the semester you have taken the tests; consult the department of Global Languages and Cultures. Once you register for a course you placed into, if you withdraw, you cannot make a request to take the STAMP test, you must continue to 102.