Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the
UW-Milwaukee Foreign Language Policy
1. Are the tests required?
Yes, if the student intends to continue studying French, German or Spanish at the University and has had two or more years of language study. The placement tests are not required to verify units of high school language taken.
2. Are the placement decisions binding?
Yes. Students in French, German and Spanish have to register for the course in which they place, although instructors can allow students to move up or down one course level. The results of the placement exam are valid for up to 1 year, and retesting is allowed. If a student believes s/he has been misplaced on the basis of the placement test, s/he should speak to the foreign language coordinator or to an advisor in the affected department before the first week of classes is over.
3. Do students receive credit for taking the test?
No. The tests are for placement only. However, a student can receive retroactive credits by completing the course that he/she places into with a grade of B or better in French, German and Spanish. Retroactive credits award students with credits for previous courses in the language sequence. For example, 4 credits for 1st semester, plus 4 credits for 2nd semester, plus 3 credits for 3rd semester, plus 3 credits for 4th semester, with a maximum of 14 credits. Retroactive credits are only given in conjunction with the first language course taken at the university. Students should contact the appropriate foreign language department before the beginning of the semester to verify that the course that they are taking generates retroactive credits.
4. What is the policy on AP scores?
A score of 3, 4, or 5 on an AP test gives the student credit in a given course or courses. If the student wants retroactive credits, s/he must take the next level course and meet the language department's retroactive credit requirements (see above) in order to receive retro credits for courses preceding the one with which the AP score is associated.
5. If a student took an AP test in French, German or Spanish, should she/he still take the placement test?
Yes, students should take the placement test and be prepared to take the course indicated, since they may not receive the AP test results by the date of the placement exam. If the AP score is 3 or better and indicates a higher placement, the AP score takes precedence. If the AP score is 1 or 2, the placement test score determines placement.
For more information on individual languages, contact: