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Foreign Language Placement and Foreign Language Proficiency Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to take a language placement exam?
Beginning in fall 2010, all entering undergraduate students are required to take a foreign language placement test to complete their new student registration.  This is part of a new foreign language proficiency requirement for all Bachelor of Arts degree candidates in Bellarmine College.  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 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.

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.

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. 

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. Native speakers are only permitted to enroll into courses at the 300 level and above.

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, however, the minimum proficiency must be met.

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, 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.

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 score 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, we must be able to measure your speaking, writing and reading skills in a foreign language. This is accomplished with the STAMP test, which tests all three skills. 

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