Spanish Language Placement Exam

Hispanic Studies Department Policy for Spanish Language Placement Exams

The Spanish language placement exam -- currently the AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment for Performance toward Proficiency in Language) -- is administered to incoming and current students who have not completed any Spanish language coursework at the University of Kentucky.  This exam is administered for the sole purpose of determining the most appropriate initial course for students embarking on their study of Spanish at the University. However, it is also used to exempt students from the A&S language requirement if their score demonstrates language ability roughly equivalent to that which is expected of students who have completed 4 semesters of Spanish language study at the Elementary and Intermediate levels (SPA 101, 102, 201 and 202) here at UK.  This differs from other exams that give incoming students credit on their transcripts, such as the Advanced Placement Exam (AP), the International Baccalaureate Exam (IB) and the College Level Examination Program Exam (CLEP).  No credit is earned through this placement exam. 

Most often, this exam is administered when students arrive as freshmen or transfers, whether for the Fall or the Spring semester, during their initial orientation and registration for incoming students.  However, if a person chooses not to take the placement exam upon entering as a freshman or transfer student, the Hispanic Studies Department offers alternative opportunities to take the exam in our departmental office by appointment. 

Sometimes, students choose not to take the placement exam, or choose to enroll in a course that is below the level recommended by the AAPPL exam score.  If a student has a question or concern about the level recommended for a certain score, we recommend that the student consult with the department directly, in order to assure that the decision is in the best interest of both that student and the other students in the class.

Sometimes, students take the placement exam at the start of their time at the university but choose not to take language classes immediately.  If a student does not to choose to enroll in Spanish classes the semester following the administration of the placement exam, the placement score is valid for another two years and is reported on the student’s advising profile on myGPS.  As with many skills, language ability begins to degrade over time if those skills are not employed regularly.  Pedagogically, it is important that the student be placed into the appropriate class for her/his current skill level. Thus, after two years, the student will need to repeat the placement exam in the Hispanic Studies departmental office before enrolling in coursework in Spanish

Once a student has chosen to take a class in the Spanish language sequence – or has chosen to transfer credit from another institution as Spanish language credit – the placement exam is NO LONGER AN OPTION FOR THAT STUDENT.  The exam serves as a placement exam and will not be used to determine language competency beyond recommended placement for continued study.  Therefore, no student may take the AAPPL placement exam to satisfy language requirements if they have already taken Spanish language coursework at UK or if they have transferred in Spanish language coursework from another college or university, since that coursework determines the placement of the student in the language series. 

If you have any questions regarding the use and scope of the placement exam, please contact the Hispanic Studies department directly at 859-257-1565. 


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